by Todd Wineburner with Nick Gale
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has given Illinois conditional permission to pursue a health insurance marketplace that will be open for business this fall. There are six conditions that the state has to meet before any plans can move forward, with oversight requirements being a key issue. Consumer outreach activities also have to be documented before official permission is given for the plan.
In order to comply with the federal guidelines, Illinois has to meet deadlines on March 1st and April 1st, but lawmkaers say they're already working on legislation to meet the requirements. The goal of the plan is to allow people who otherwise can't get health insurance to join a group of people in similar situations. That should create an environment in which insurers can offer premiums much lower than individual health care plans.