March , 2019

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(From the Campaign for Better Health Care)

ILLINOIS – One of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the opening of a health insurance marketplace in each state where insurance companies can compete against one another and consumers can get better prices, was rolled out today.  Oct. 1 marks the first day of health insurance enrollment through the Illinois marketplace.

“Today is obviously a big day for those without health insurance, and we know that a lot of people are excited to explore their options and get covered,” said Larry Ivory, President of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce.  “Along with everyone else, our members and their employees will be able to have insurance that will provide them with coverage without facing higher premiums because of their size, or without being rejected for having pre-existing conditions.  Our members will have the same peace of mind that larger employers have always had.”

Since Obamacare became law, over 100 million Americans are already benefitting from it, and most of the new benefits haven’t been phased in yet.  In Illinois alone, 174,000 families have received rebates totalling nearly $10 million from insurance companies that are now required to spend 80-85% of all premium dollars on actual health care.  134,000 Medicare recipients have received nearly $100 million in prescription drug rebates. 125,000 young adults remain covered on their parents’ health insurance plans.

“October 1 is the first day of enrollment, but it’s it not the only day you’ll be able to sign up for affordable insurance through the marketplaces,” said Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC).  “You can sign up for coverage that starts on January 1 as late as December 15 of this year, so we expect to see people taking their time and really working the numbers they find through the enrollment website.  I mean, you wouldn’t buy the first car you saw on the lot, would you?  Of course not – you’d take your time and weigh your options before you made your choice.  Why should health insurance be any different?”

CBHC story sharer Abby Bott said, “Being able to get on to my father’s insurance plan saved my life when I was diagnosed with cancer at age 22.  The Affordable Care Act has already helped me once, and now I’m counting down the days to Januray 1 for health insurance despite my pre-existing condition.  I’m looking foward to having a more normal life once I’m able to qualify.”

Small businesses will really benefit from Obamacare, as well. The Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Chicago estimates that they will receive a tax credit of about $10,000.  “That’s a new freezer for us,” grins Sharon Hoyer, the co-op’s general manager. “There’s a lot of noise out there, but the truth is that the law makes it easier for small businesses to provide better, more affordable health care to their employees,” adds Joyce Harant, Project Director for the Small  Business Health Care Consortium.

Jessica Palys, UCC Seminarian and Director of Faith Initiatives at CBHC, said, “All faith traditions challenge us to engage in healing, to act with justice, and to treat one another with compassion. Up until today, our health care delivery system distributed services unjustly, rationed care inequitably, and offered compassion only to those who could afford it.  It was an immoral system that forced people to make immoral decisions about their life and that of their loved ones.  After January 1st, no longer will we have to look into the face of desperation, fatigue, and hopelessness of those excluded from insurance.”

Most Americans think Obamacare is good for America, a step in the right direction.  By more than 2-to-1, Americans want to see Obamacare implemented, because they realize how important it is that all Americans with pre-existing conditions – and that is most of us – can now get affordable coverage if we change jobs or lose our job. With today’s opening of the Health Insurance Marketplaces in each state, Obamacare offers a new, easy way to get the security of affordable, quality health care that’s there when you need it. Visit healthcare.gov to compare different health care plans side-by-side and find out how much of a subsidy you are eligible for.
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