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Illinois is Ready to Implement Exchanges

Most states have delayed implementing health insurance exchanges required by the federal Affordable Care Act.  The constitutionality of the act is being challenged before the U.S.  Supreme Court. A spokesperson for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce says the state will move quickly to pass enabling legislation once the  court makes its ruling.

Laura Minzer is the executive director of the chamber's Healthcare Council.

She says, “There's general agreement that we want it to be what they call a 'quasi-governmental' structure so sort of an independent, not a state agency. But sort of hanging under a state agency.”

Most likely that agency would be the Department of Health Care and Family Services or the Department of Insurance.

The state has used two federal grants totaling  nearly $38 million to study how to get the exchange up and running. The state is looking at basic insurance packages and implementing its website.

Minzer says the exchange will be important for those on Medicaid.

She says, “The exchange is required to do all eligibility determinations so essentially it is the 'front door' to coverage So if you're an individual coming into coming into the system and you qualify for Medicaid it sends you to Medicaid.”

Minzer says although Governor Quinn threatened to implement the exchange by executive order, that is unlikely to occur. She says lawmakers want to make sure they craft the structure of the exchange.

She was in Macomb to address a local chamber group.