koehler75x75SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler's plan to create state-run health insurance exchanges has passed the Illinois Senate and now moves to the House for further consideration.

One of the most important pieces of the federal Affordable Care Act is health insurance exchanges. These exchanges are the marketplaces where private individuals and small businesses can go to purchase their health insurance. Illinois has so far failed to create an exchange, leaving the important program to an agreement between the governor's office and the federal government.

"A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't work well when it comes to something as important as health care," Koehler said. "We need a plan that can meet the unique geographic and demographic needs of Illinois."

Koehler's plan, House Bill 3227, establishes the following:

  • Illinois will have a state-run health insurance exchange beginning January 1, 2015. It will be an online marketplace that will allow consumers to compare insurance prices, in much the same way that websites like Orbitz and Travelocity allow people to compare airfares.
  • The Department of Insurance will review and recommend the health insurance plans that will be available on the exchange. All plans must meet state and federal insurance guidelines.
  • An 11-member Exchange Board, appointed by the governor, will certify all plans approved by the Department of Insurance.
  • Health insurance plans and dental plans must be available to individuals and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees in 2014. In 2016, businesses that have up to 100 employees will also qualify.
  • The health insurance exchange will be paid for by Illinois health insurance companies, not taxpayer dollars or a fee on consumers.