One of the final phases of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or better known as Obamacare, is the implementation of the health insurance marketplace, will be going into effect late in the fall this year. The state of Illinois is seeking community groups’ assistance in educating the public and creating a culture of coverage across the state of Illinois.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn earlier this year in announcing that the state was approved for a conditional approval to run a health insurance exchange in partnership with the federal government. This program is the next step in the implementation of the insurance exchanges.
Ramping up efforts to educate the public about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and specifically the insurance exchanges, Governor Pat Quinn announced recently that the state is accepting applications from community-based organizations to assist with outreach and consumer education efforts that are now underway. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure all people have access to quality healthcare and improve the health and well-being of the people of Illinois.
Grant applications are due May 30, 2013.
The types of organizations eligible to apply include nonprofit groups, farming organizations, fishing industry organizations, chambers of commerce and unions, according to LifeHealthPro.com.
“We’ve got a big job to do making sure that people across Illinois are aware of the affordable and high-quality health care coverage options that will soon be available through the Affordable Care Act,” Governor Quinn said. “That’s why we are partnering with trusted organizations that have proven records of success and roots in communities across Illinois to ensure that no one is left out.”
The Kaiser Foundation says the Insurance Exchanges are new organizations that will be set up to create a more organized and competitive market for buying health insurance. They will offer a choice of different health plans, certifying plans that participate and providing information to help consumers better understand their options.
Beginning in 2014, Insurance Exchanges will serve primarily individuals buying insurance on their own and small businesses with up to 100 employees, though states can choose to include larger employers in the future. States are expected to establish Exchanges–which can be a government agency or a non-profit organization–with the federal government stepping in if a state does not set them up. States can create multiple Exchanges, so long as only one serves each geographic area, and can work together to form regional Exchanges. The federal government will offer technical assistance to help states set up Exchanges, as they are doing in the state of Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Public Health, in coordination with the Health Insurance Marketplace will be accepting applications until May 30th, from community groups and other qualified organizations who want to participate in the In-Person Counselor (IPC) Program. The state has received approximately $28 million in federal funds for grants to participating groups.
Submissions will be competitively scored based upon quality of application, organizational capacity, and proposed scope of work. Special consideration will be given to ensure proper statewide distribution of funding based on population, regional and cultural needs. Organizations that are selected through the online application process will participate in outreach training this summer.
“We know that far too many people, especially those who lack health care coverage, are simply not aware of the coming opportunity to acquire coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” Marketplace Director Jennifer Koehler said. “We estimate that more than half of the Marketplace’s customers will require help sifting through the options and enrolling in a health plan that meets their needs. We’re looking for partners who are trusted in their communities to help us carry out our goal of creating a ‘culture of coverage’ in every corner of the state.”
Enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will begin on Oct. 1, with coverage to start Jan. 1, 2014. The Marketplace will be accessed through a robust, user-friendly website where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to compare health care policies and premiums and purchase comprehensive health coverage.
For more information about the state’s implementation of the ACA, go to: www.HealthCareReform.illinois.gov.
Nearly 1.8 million Illinois residents are uninsured, according to LifeHealthPro.com. An estimated 486,000 state residents will get coverage from commercial insurers through the Illinois marketplace in 2014. That figure is expected to reach 1 million customers by 2016.
Grant applications will be competitively scored. State officials intend to distribute the grants with consideration to serving various populations, regions and cultures. The University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health will run a training program this summer for organizations selected for the grants.
For more information about the application process for the Illinois In-Person Counselor (IPC) Grant Program, go to: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/healthcarereform/Pages/IPC.aspx.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.