This is an important week for the health insurance industry in Illinois. The state has entered the national limelight as it draws closer to making a decision regarding the establishment of a health insurance exchange. Legislators have been torn on the issue since the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. A law that would make the exchange a reality is currently before the state Legislature and lawmakers are expected to determine the fate of the exchange initiative by the end of the week. If the law is passed, Illinois will become the first state to pass a comprehensive legislation concerning health insurance exchanges.
Illinois is one of the few states whose Legislature is still in session. Legislatures in other states have already been dismissed for the holiday season and will not reconvene until next year. This has brought a great deal of attention to the state from both politicians and the insurance industry and the actions in Illinois may serve as a standard for other states looking to establish their own exchanges.
Currently, state Republicans and Democrats are torn on the issue. The two parties may be looking to come to a compromise on the issue, which would make a state-run insurance exchange possible, though a number of provisions would be added to the law to make it friendlier for insurance companies to participate in. If a compromise cannot be reached and if Republicans remain determined to oppose the law, the decision on the exchange will likely be delayed until next year.