State Insurance Marketplace Update

The Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will start enrolling October 2013 with the total exchange enrollment expected to be 486,000. However, the state does not have the legislative authority to run a State-Based Marketplace, so the state will be assisted by the federal government in its implementation. According to April issue of HFS e-news, at this time, the Federal government is building the Marketplace web site and setting up a call center. On April 1, 2013, the “Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace Outreach and Consumer Education Plan”, was submitted to HHS. According to the plan, state officials will work with community-based organizations in the coming months to circulate information on how the needs of the population will be served.

There are several demographic characteristics that make it difficult to reach and enroll some of the individuals in the Marketplace as it is difficult to reach populations not proficient in English with lower education levels living in rural areas.

To help remedy this problem, this spring insurers will submit plans to the Illinois Department of Insurance for review, and then a competitive grant application will be published for “Assisters” to help consumers enroll in Marketplace plans and apply for Medicaid and CHIP.

The state plans to establish “Assister” program roles with three specific Assister categories such as Navigators to be selected through a competitive application process to carry out education and enrollment activities in their respective communities. Eventually, an “Assister” web site with information on coverage opportunities and resources, contact information, and a link to apply for insurance will be available. Other “Assistor” categories will include In-Person Counselors, and Certified Application Counselors.

The state realizes that it is necessary to create an outreach strategy to reach the target population. The State is presently procuring professional services for market researchers and public relations experts. The state has made this procurement a top priority and plans by June 2013 to develop creative, media, public relations, online marketing, and community outreach plans.

One of the major actions will be able to share information laterally as well as vertically. The Marketplace expects to engage dozens of organizations in educational, outreach and enrollment. Many of these organizations have been active in their communities for generations, while others may be newly formed.

Additionally through the statewide system of regional networks, the Marketplace will provide communication across various networks to identify what is working in each of the communities in the state regardless of whether that network is rural, suburban, or urban.

Go to http://www2.illinois.gov/hfs/SiteCollectionDocuments/IHIMOEP.pdf to view the Outreach and Consumer Education Plan submitted to HHS.

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