Group says Ill. could rent pieces of HealthCare.gov

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Kris­ten Schorsch, Crain’s Chicago Busi­ness

Illi­nois law­mak­ers should cre­ate a state-based health in­sur­ance ex­change and con­sider rent­ing cer­tain func­tions of HealthCare.gov if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against fed­eral sub­si­dies in states that haven’t set up their own mar­ket­places.

The Illi­nois Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion floated the ideas this month in a memo that stated, “If the Court rules that sub­si­dies are not avail­able … ap­prox­i­mately 250,000 Illi­noisans are likely to lose tax cred­its, jeop­ar­diz­ing their abil­ity to ob­tain health in­sur­ance.”

Es­tab­lish­ing an Illi­nois ex­change could be less ex­pen­sive now than in 2012, when a con­sult­ing group es­ti­mated it would cost $57.4 mil­lion to $88.6 mil­lion. That’s be­cause the state al­ready has cre­ated sev­eral ex­change func­tions. They in­clude en­sur­ing Illi­nois plans sold through HealthCare.gov meet cer­tain re­quire­ments, such as cov­er­ing hos­pi­tal stays and pre­scrip­tion drugs.

But Illi­nois would need to pay for key pieces the fed­eral gov­ern­ment now per­forms, such as de­ter­min­ing if con­sumers are el­i­gi­ble for sub­si­dies. Given the state’s deep bud­get deficit, fund­ing any ex­panded pro­gram would be po­lit­i­cally dif­fi­cult.

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