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Divorce and health insurance, part 2: the Illinois exchange

In part one of this post, we discussed the important role that buying health insurance on the new online marketplace under the Affordable Care Act could play for someone who lost coverage on a spouse's policy following a divorce.

In this part of the post, let's look more specifically at Illinois and the rates expected to be available on the insurance exchange here in the Land of Lincoln.

Preliminary indications are that, overall, health insurance rates in Illinois will be somewhat less than the national average.

Keep in mind that the online marketplace will not only serve individuals and their families. Small businesses are also comparing prices there, looking for possible coverage for their employees. And numerous tax incentives are available to facilitate the extension of coverage to more people.

Large business, defined as those with 50 more employees, will not initially be able to use the exchanges for their employees.

For both individuals and businesses, it takes a lot of comparing to make informed coverage choices. In Illinois alone, there are no fewer than 58 health insurance plans potentially available to the typical consumer. Multiple insurance companies are represented, though not all of them are active in all parts of the state.

Not surprisingly, household income and many other factors go into setting the rates and the availability of tax credits. And premiums naturally vary according to how much of the out-of-pocket costs consumers must pay under a given plan.

Even though plans have different levels of coverage, however, all of them must include certain basic services. And, in one of the signature pieces of the Affordable Care Act, pre-existing conditions are no longer grounds for exclusion from coverage.

Overall, then, the Affordable Care Act is opening up health insurance options for divorced people that didn't exist before.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Illinois insurance exchange rates lower than U.S. average," Peter Frost, September 25, 2013

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