News Local/State

Illinois Remains Without Its Own State Insurance Exchange As House Leaves Town

doctor's office wall

inside a doctor's office Photo by Wikimedia

Illinois will remain without its own state healthcare exchange under the Affordable Care Act ... at least for the moment. The inaction by the General Assembly could mean the state will pay more to create one in the future.

The Illinois House is gone until January, when new members are sworn in. But by then, the Jan. 1 deadline will have passed to collect the $270 million the federal government is offering to help states create their own health insurance marketplaces.

Illinois didn't create its own exchange initially, due to concerns with funding it. But now a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to take away subsidies from insurees who bought health plans under the Affordable Care Act in states without their own exchanges — states like Illinois.

Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) says a state exchange would protect Illinois consumers not just from losing their subsidies.

"I think we have a chance if we do a state-based exchange to enhance consumer protections and get a better deal for our Illinois consumers from the various insurance companies," he said.

Opponents to creating a state exchange say they doubt Illinois' ability to fund its own exchange once the federal money is reduced.