Updates on health care reform in Illinois

October 2017

The good news is we won the war. But now the battles have begun and, unfortunately, the damage is already being felt. States across the US have seen their federal enrollment outreach funding slashed, in some cases by as much as 90%. Illinois got "lucky," losing only 31%. Our newsletter this month focuses on the tools and messages we will use to fight back this latest attempt to inflict harm on the Affordable Care Act.

 All hands on deck for OE5!
The ACA was not repealed, but it endured some body blows. Uncertainty drove up premiums for 2018, and a hostile government did what it could to undermine the law. The enrollment period was cut in half. HHS staff were barred from participating in enrollment efforts. Renewal notices are not going out to those covered, as they have in past years. Worst of all, federal funds for outreach were cut 89%. And HHS is pouring those savings into efforts to further diminish enrollment, such as producing videos about how consumers are "burdened by Obamacare." 

So it's going to be hard this year. It's going to take everything we've got to help people get access to coverage. Now is the time to come together and spread this message
  • The ACA is still the law and health insurance is available
  • You must enroll by Dec. 15 to be covered in 2018
  • Find local help ilcha.org/help
You can use these tools to help your outreach:
CHIP reauthorization has expired!
For the first time since the program started in 1997, Congress missed the September 30 deadline to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program, a vital program that covers 9 million kids. 

The good news is that a renewal measure cleared the Senate Finance Committee on October 4. We need to remind Congress that reauthorization needs to come to the floor for a vote.

Call Congress (202) 224-3121. Tell them we must work together to get this done for the children and families counting on CHIP.

You can use these tools:
  DOI on the 2018 marketplace
The Illinois Department of Insurance has posted a preliminary plan analysis on 2018 Marketplace plans. The weighted average premium increase is 20% for Bronze plans and 35% for Silver. HCSC left the SHOP, so there are no SHOP plans in the Chicago area. Read the analysis

 Insurance carrier summit

 Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, hospital financial counselors and other assisters will hear directly from insurance companies selling ACA plans in Illinois for 2018. Monday, November 6, 9:30-12 pm at MATTER in Chicago.The event is free, but registration required. Learn more/register

 HB 4096 - MHDD Individual Care Grants

The Medicaid Managed Care Organization contract, due to go into effect January 1, states that the state shall adopt a single preferred drug list that MCOs will be unable to deviate from, even to offer more generous coverage options. The Single PDL would institute barriers to care for many Medicaid recipients with chronic illnesses. HB 4096 seeks to instead implement a floor, mandating plans to cover at least what HFS offers, but also enable to them to offer more. Learn more

 New and important on social media

When the landscape changes every time you wake up, and then again during the day, you need a fast way to keep up. These two efforts, both launched last month, provide that:

2018ACAEnrollment has just one goal: Helping state and local Indivisible groups work together to promote 2018 ACA Open Enrollment.

Get America Covered helps people looking for health insurance get covered and stay covered.

And, while this group is not as new, be sure to keep following our friends at the coalition to keep abreast of crucial developments in Illinois:

A coalition working to prevent repeal of the ACA, to prevent disastrous changes to Medicaid, and to protect & expand access to quality, affordable health care.

We will continue to work together, and to keep you informed.

John Jansa
Health & Disability Advocates

Please forward this newsletter to friends or colleagues who are interested in how the ACA and other developments are impacting health care in Illinois with. If you have questions or suggestions, email us at info@illinoishealthmatters.org .
Illinois Health Matters     *    illinoishealthmatters.org