Illinois Health Insurance
In January 2014, the Affordable Care Act began giving many Illinois residents new health insurance options. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in April that nearly 217,500 residents had signed up for plans through the Illinois health insurance marketplace, found at GetCoveredIllinois.gov. From there, Illinois residents can register for an account during open enrollment, find out if they qualify for subsidies and sign up for a new health plan. Illinois is also expanding Medicaid coverage starting in 2014.
The marketplace plans are offered through private companies, but they must offer mandated benefits and conform to standard levels of bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The plans generally offer the same coverage, but policyholders will pay lower premiums and higher out-of-pocket expenses with bronze and silver plans.
The marketplace also offers a high-deductible catastrophic plan for younger adults and other qualifying individuals. Depending on income, age and family size, applicants might be directed to sign up for a private plan, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.
Do you qualify for a health insurance subsidy in Illinois?
According to a January 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation profile of health insurance in Illinois, about two-thirds of uninsured and nonelderly Illinois residents are eligible for some kind of financial assistance to help purchase medical insurance. Assistance might come in the form of tax credits to help offset premiums, Medicaid or CHIP. About 46 percent are either eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. Illinois residents interested in government aid should know the following.
- Eligibility for subsidies is typically determined using 2013 poverty level limits, and eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP is typically determined using 2014 limits.
- People with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the 2013 poverty level without access to other affordable medical plans may qualify for a subsidy to help pay for a private plan through the marketplace. That income requirement is between $11,490 and $45,960 for an individual and between $23,550 and $94,200 for a family of four.
- Nonelderly adults in Illinois with incomes up to 138 percent of the 2014 federal poverty level may qualify for Medicaid.
- Elderly adults who qualify for Medicare may stay on that federal health insurance program.
Health insurers participating in the Illinois health insurance marketplace
Here are some companies that offer health insurance plans through the Illinois marketplace.
• Coventry Health Care
• Humana Insurance and Humana Health Plan
• Health Care Service Corp. (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois)
Illinois health and coverage statistics
Illinois population (2013): 12,882,135
Population 65 and older (2012): 13.2 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 79.0 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 2,106,200
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 1,698,800
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 1,802,600
Overall state health ranking: 30
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Illinois health insurance resources
Illinois Department of Public Health: http://www.idph.state.il.us/
Get Covered Illinois: http://getcoveredillinois.gov/
Illinois Department of Insurance: http://insurance.illinois.gov/
Illinois Department on Aging: http://www.cbrx.il.gov/aging/1athome/athome-main.htm
Medicaid in Illinois: http://www.hfs.illinois.gov/medical/apply.html
Federal Medicare website: http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/your-medicare-coverage.html