ACA Health Plans In Illinois: Steady Rates Overall, But Some Counties Have Limited Options

October 30, 2019
 
health insurance illustration
Dave Kovaluk/St. Louis Public Radio

Most people in Illinois who have insurance through the Affordable Care Act won’t see big changes to their monthly premiums next year, according to a report released this week by the Illinois Department of Insurance

On average, there will be a slight decrease in overall rates. This comes after several years of rising rates for ACA health plans nationwide.

IDOI presented an analysis of the 2020 Illinois Exchange on Monday, ahead of the Open Enrollment period, which goes from November 1 through December 15.

Five insurers will offer coverage throughout Illinois. In most Illinois counties, people will have at least two insurers to choose from.

In most Illinois counties, people seeking health insurance through the ACA Marketplace will have at least two insurers to choose from.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from IDOI Analysis of Illinois Exchange Plans

However, six counties will have only one: DeKalb, McHenry and Lake counties in northern Illinois, and Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties in southern Illinois. 

For people who live in parts of the state with only one insurer, it could be difficult to find a plan that meets their health needs, said Adani Sanchez, a federally certified application counselor with Champaign County Health Care Consumers.

But in general, she advises people looking at ACA health plans to consider which services they need most.

“Is it most important to have a really cheap premium, or is it most important that this really specialized medication you’re on is covered?” Sanchez said. “Is it really important to keep your doctor, or are you willing to switch to a different doctor if it means that your premium can be cheaper?” 

Most people who buy exchange plans receive subsidies to help them offset costs. For those who don't qualify, monthly premiums can range from $200 to more than $500 a month, depending on the level of coverage.

Sanchez said even if a person already has a plan through the ACA Marketplace, they should still update their information online “because even if your income hasn’t changed, the rate of federal subsidies change with the federal poverty level," and that could mean greater cost savings.

More than 312,000 people enrolled in ACA health insurance plans during open enrollment last year, according to the IDOI. The agency’s website has a search feature that can help people find application assisters in their local area.

Prior to the Open Enrollment period, health plans can be previewed at Healthcare.gov.

Champaign County Health Care Consumers offers free services year-round to people in getting health coverage. 

The group will host an Open Enrollment community meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 7, at the OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman

Story source: WILL