Health care group sets meeting on insurance exchange

Health care group sets meeting on insurance exchange

CHAMPAIGN — A chance to learn more about the insurance exchange being developed in Illinois — and how that stands to affect the way you might one day buy your health insurance — will be offered Wednesday evening.

A community meeting, sponsored by Champaign County Health Care Consumers, will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., C.

It's free and open to the public, and will include speakers from the Illinois Department of Insurance, Campaign from Better Health Care, Health Care Consumers and its Health Care Access Task Force.

Health insurance exchanges are being created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal health care reform legislation being rolled out over a number of years.

Exchanges are being established in each state and will serve as central marketplaces to buy health insurance from health plans that meet certain affordability and quality standards. Tax credits will be available to people who are income-eligible, to help them pay for the insurance they purchase through the exchanges.

The exchanges will open for business Jan. 1, 2014, but open enrollment is expected to start in October 2013. States must have their exchanges ready by Jan. 1, 2013.

Two of the speakers Wednesday will include Josephine Underwood with Campaign for Better Health Care and Frank Varela-Kisner, assistant director for consumer education with the Illinois Department of Insurance.

Discussed will be the status of the development of Illinois' exchange, coverage levels in the exchange, advocacy efforts around the exchange and how to take action, according to Health Care Consumers.