Legislators continue to push for Illinois health insurance exchange
The Illinois health insurance exchange is on track to comply with federal regulations and deadlines. State officials have been making progress in building the state’s own exchange program, hoping to have one established before being confronted by deadlines from the federal government. Thus far, progress has been modest, but promising. The state is now reviewing five bids from companies and organizations interested in building the exchange program. Legislators are expected to choose one of these bidders within the coming months.
State exchange to create competition amongst insurers
States are required to build their own health insurance exchanges by the Affordable Care Act. The federal health care law envisions the exchanges as marketplaces where consumers can find affordable coverage. The Illinois health insurance exchange is meant to be designed to create competition within the state’s health insurance industry, driving down costs for policies as companies fight to appeal to consumers.
Legislators fielding bids from companies interested in building the exchange
The state’s Department of Insurance has received bids for building the Illinois health insurance exchange from Infosys, CGI, Deloitte Consulting, Xerox, and Cognizant Technologies Solutions. The exchange will not be a physical system, though it may have a physical representation for administrative purposes. A health insurance exchange, as outlined in the Affordable Care Act, is meant to be a virtual marketplace. The concept is often likened as the Travelocity for health insurance coverage. Through this digital space, consumers are expected to find several tiers of coverage that offer varying degrees of benefits.
Illinois may team with federal government for early stages of exchange
State legislators will have to determine which bid is in the best interests of the state and have a plan for the exchange established by the end of 2013. By 2014, Illinois will be required to have a fully operational exchange system in place. State legislators have shown interest in partnering with the federal government as a way to sidestep the deadline. For the first year, the two parties would manage the exchange in tandem, with the state government eventually taking over full responsibility at a future time.