CHICAGO – Marking a critical new phase in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) across Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn today announced $27 million in federal funds to 44 community organizations that will conduct outreach and education, and facilitate enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. Enrollment in the Marketplace will begin on Oct. 1. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to improve the health of the people of Illinois and increase access to quality health care.
“We’ve seen an outpouring of interest from community groups across Illinois who understand the importance of this historic effort and are eager to be involved,” Governor Quinn said. “These proven organizations have stepped up and joined our movement to get the word out about insurance options that will improve the health of the people of Illinois. Our goal is to reach out to every corner of the state and make sure that no one is left out of this historic opportunity to obtain quality health coverage and the peace of mind that comes with it.”
The groups selected to participate in the state’s In-Person Counselor (IPC) Program will be on the front lines of the ACA outreach and enrollment effort. They will help people sort through the coverage options and explain the federal subsidies that will be available through the Marketplace. These groups will also help people complete the application and enrollment process. The state has received federal funding to cover the start-up costs and the first year of operations of the Marketplace.
Over the coming weeks and months, these community groups will take part in an intensive training program designed to prepare them to educate consumers about the ACA and their health care options. The grants were awarded through a competitive application process administered by the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
“We know that many of those of who are eligible for subsidized coverage through the ACA have never, or rarely, had access to comprehensive health coverage,” Marketplace Director Jennifer Koehler said. ”Our goal is to help them make decisions about what kind of health care coverage best suits their needs. We have a big job to do between now and Oct. 1 in terms of educating our target population about the opportunities for quality coverage available to them through the Health Insurance Marketplace.”
“The ACA presents a historic opportunity for us to improve the overall health of the people of Illinois,” IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. “We are very fortunate to be able to partner with these dedicated community groups from all across the state to help us get the word out and ensure that every eligible person in Illinois who needs health coverage is able to obtain it through the Marketplace.”
Enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will begin on Oct. 1, with coverage to start Jan. 1, 2014. The Marketplace will be accessed through a user-friendly website where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to compare health care policies and premiums and purchase comprehensive health coverage. Those with income between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the marketplace.
For a complete list of the community groups selected to participate in the ACA outreach and enrollment effort and for more information about the state’s implementation of the ACA, go to: www.HealthCareReform.illinois.gov.