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HHS approves IL health exchange blueprint

On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the conditional approval of Illinois’ health exchange blueprint. 

Illinois is the third state to receive approval, Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The state-run exchange will allow residents and businesses to compare and purchase healthcare coverage. All state and federal marketplaces are slated to go live on October 1 and only 17 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to set up exchanges, Crain’s Chicago Business states.

Illinois’ exchange will be operated by the federal government and the local officials for the first year. The state will take over completely in 2015.

Sebelius met with Governor Pat Quinn yesterday. In his State of the State speech last week, Quinn pushed lawmakers to pass legislation to set up an independent exchange for 2015, Crain’s reports. The Governor also urged for the expansion of public coverage and the creation of a health insurance program for low-income residents.

While HHS has been using the term “health insurance exchange” for several months, the federal agency has recently begun substituting it with “health insurance marketplace” online, the newspaper notes. The word swap is likely aimed at limiting confusion surrounding the word “exchange” as the government attempts to raise awareness of Affordable Care Act mandated changes.

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Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe likes to write about things that matter. Keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the public sector world, she blogs about the latest legislative news and employee benefit trends that affect our school, city and county clients. She’s been with NIS since 2002. “I love connecting to our clients and providing them with the tools they need in order to administrate their plan,” says Erin. “Whether that be materials to educate their employees on certain benefits, how to effectively communicate change within an organization or just providing tips and how-to’s to help them make their job easier.”

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