health insurance

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, KFF State Health

News Analysis - It’s no secret that many Illinois Democrats have been reluctant to throw their full support behind President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. And Republicans at the state level are not going to get behind a law that their party counterparts in the U.S. House have voted dozens of times to repeal. As a result, those seeking insurance in the state have been handed a mixed bag of policy.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

While the fat lady may not yet have sung for the new law slashing pension benefits for public workers, she certainly seems to be warming up in the wings, courtesy of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Get Covered Illinois

A new banner of ads will top The Onion website. This is the state's latest effort to get young people to sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

The Onion is known for its satire, but this is no joke.

As the Affordable Care Act's March 31 deadline approaches, Illinois officials are trying to get a demographic they call the "Young Invincibles" to sign up. 

Get Covered Illinois

Federal officials say more than 61,000 Illinois residents signed up for health insurance during the first three months of the troubled HealthCare.gov website.  

Busy First Day For Illinois Health Exchange

Oct 1, 2013
GetCoveredIllinois

More than 69,000 people visited Illinois' new health insurance marketplace by late Tuesday, the first opportunity to comparison shop for
coverage through a system that's a key piece of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. But people hoping to enroll weren't getting much further, as the federally run website experienced glitches and delays.
 
 At a health center on Chicago's west side, workers said their goal for the day
was to get just one person enrolled, but none of the people who came in were

Quinn Says Health Marketplace Launch "Historic"

Oct 1, 2013

Gov. Pat Quinn says the launch of the health insurance marketplace marks a ``historic'' day that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans.  
Quinn spoke at a press conference in Chicago on Tuesday, the same day the marketplace opened in Illinois and other states.  
But the federal website where people enroll was experiencing some glitches. Consumers couldn't get beyond initial screens, and some reported waits of 20 minutes on a hotline set up to assist them.  
Quinn says glitches are part of any new endeavor.  

Health Law Could Reduce Incarceration Rates

Oct 1, 2013
flickr/sideonecincy

Tuesday marks the launch of state health insurance exchanges, a major part of the Affordable Care Act. Among the many changes likely after the new health coverage takes effect: Fewer people behind bars.

During a recent expo put on by the Illinois Department of Corrections in Champaign, Jeff Rinderle of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District talked with parolees and former prison inmates transitioning into civilian life about the Affordable Care Act.

Illinois To Launch Obamacare Ad Campaign

Sep 30, 2013
GetCoveredIllinois

Illinois will launch an advertising campaign Tuesday to inform Illinois residents about the health insurance marketplace opening that day that will connect people with new benefits under President Barack Obama's health care law.  
Marketplace spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan provided copies of the ads to The Associated Press. She says the Get Covered Illinois campaign will begin with newspaper ads in 50 state markets. Radio and TV ads are planned for later this fall.  

Campaign for Better Health Care

The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, is among the most controversial domestic policy laws in history.  And it remains so just days before the next phase launches October 1.   At that time, a window opens allowing comparative shopping for coverage. 

While the debate in Washington continues, we wanted to take a closer look at the law and what it will mean for those who are uninsured and those who already have coverage. 

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Retired state workers who collect pensions in Illinois started paying health insurance premiums this summer. That's because of a change in the law last year — previously health insurance was free for anyone who retired with at least 20 years of service.

A number of retirees sued over the change. The case was argued Wednesday before the Illinois Supreme Court.

A few months ago, Illinois began collecting one percent of pension income from retirees who are eligible for Medicare, two percent from those who aren't.

Enrollment projections for Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Heidi Massey hasn’t been to the doctor in several years. At 52 and unable to afford health coverage, the Chicago resident hopes her situation changes when a key feature of the federal health care reform law begins in 2014.

But whether Illinois’ health-insurance exchange, similar to those being set up in other states, reaches its goal of eventually providing 1 million or more people and small businesses a cheaper way of getting good coverage remains to be seen.

Keith Brainard of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators says states tend to accumulate the largest long-term costs for retiree benefits by offering open-ended promises of providing health services.

Health insurance for public retirees used to be considered a throw-away benefit, according to Keith Brainard, research director for the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. It used to be OK to say, "Yeah, we'll throw that in too."

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's plan doesn't go as far as Massachusetts' new law requiring individuals to have health insurance and employers to provide it.

First he covered kids. Now he wants to cover adults. That's Gov. Rod Blagojevich's health insurance plan in a nutshell. 

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Health care is an essential safeguard of human life and dignity, and there is an obligation for society to ensure that every person be able to realize this right. ... Universal coverage is not a vague promise or a rhetorical preamble to legislation, but requires practical means and sufficient investment to permit everyone to obtain decent health care on a regular basis.

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
October 1995 pastoral letter

When fewer people have health insurance, everyone pays more. 

Nationwide, the added expense of treating everything from sore throats to heart disease in the emergency room is significant — about $41 billion in 2004 — according to a January report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

Pat Guinane
WUIS/Illinois Issues

It’s not clear whether the governor gets his breakfast cereal in those oversized boxes that line the aisles of no-frills superstores. But when it comes to the state, Rod Blagojevich is big on buying in bulk. The underlying theory: Use the purchasing power of state government to lower prices for local governments.