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Gov. Quinn Announces State-Federal Partnership Health Exchange

Dear Friends,

On behalf of Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC), we would like thank everyone who signed the petition calling on Illinois’ Governor Quinn to establish the Health Exchange, whether online, in our office, at the Urbana Farmer’s Market, or at one of our Task Force meetings.

Last week Governor Quinn announced that Illinois would move forward toestablish a state-federal partnership Health Exchange. CCHCC and other health care advocates had been organizing to pressure the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Quinn to instead establish a state-operated Health Exchange that would have allowed for an insurance marketplace that was customized to meet the specific needs of Illinoisans and would have been governed by Illinoisans.

Frankly, we are disappointed that our state leadership did not rise to the challenge and take advantage of the opportunity to have a locally governed,pro-consumer Health Benefits Exchange that would have best met the needs of the residents of Illinois. Despite the claim by state officials that there was not enough time remaining to establish a state-operated exchange, we do believe that Illinois had sufficient time if the elected leadership had the political will.

HOWEVER, having a state-federal partnership Exchange up and running in Illinois in 2014 is indeed a VICTORY for the residents of Illinois.

Through the Exchange in 2014 alone:

* 486,000 residents will enroll in private health insurance plans;

* 500,000 residents will join the expanded Medicaid program (which the state would receive 100% federal matching reimbursement for those costs the first three years of the Exchange); And

* 247,000 residents would qualify for federal subsidies for premiums and co-payments to help with insurance costs.

(Source: Wakely Consulting Group, Health Management Association, Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services)

Please read on for more information about State-Federal Partnership Health Exchanges. Also, please check out this article from The State-Journal Register regarding Governor Quinn’s decision:http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x1798690424/State-to-work-with-feds-on-health-insurance-exchange

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WHAT IS A STATE-FEDERAL PARTNERSHIP?

In May 2012, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)announced a third Exchange model. States could apply for a state-operated Health Exchange, have a federally-facilitated Exchange, or now enter into a state-federal partnership for 2014 – the first year that the Exchange wouldbe operational.The state-federal partnership Exchange is a mix of the first two options,where the responsibilities, control, and decision-making would be split between the state and federal government. In this model, HHS would be responsible for ensuring the Exchange meets all of the standards. HHS would run the online marketplace website. Illinois can decide to operate some of the plan management functions (health insurance plan selection and other details) and consumer assistance (in-person assistance and outreach). This state-federal partnership will give Illinois legislators an additional year to finalize a state-run Health Exchange to start in 2015.

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At this point in time, we are still gathering information on the final details of how state-federal Health Exchanges will operate and which components of the Exchange Illinois may seek to operate. We must remain vigilant as decisions may be made for the state-federal partnership that will lay the groundwork for the state-operated Exchange in 2015. We must continue to fight for a pro-consumer exchange that has consumer representation on the operating Board and prevents any sway from the insurance industries.

Again, we want to thank all of you for taking action and fighting for the creation of the Illinois Health Benefits Exchange. CCHCC remains committed to a pro-consumer Exchange and we will be calling on you to help shape what our Exchange looks like in 2014 under the state-federal partnership and what it looks like in 2015 as a standalone Exchange.

Sincerely,

Champaign County Health Care Consumers

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