Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Illinois Senate OKs Health Coverage Exchange Plan

Illinois will begin an exchange this year through a federal partnership

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The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would create a state-governed "insurance exchange'' so individuals and small businesses can shop for health care coverage as required by President Obama's health law.

Lawmakers voted Thursday 37-19 to send the House a bill -- HB3227 -- establishing the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.

The exchange would guide people through the purchase of health and dental plans. It would also help qualified businesses enroll employees in health insurance plans.

The Affordable Care Act requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. New marketplaces are scheduled to be operating by October.

Illinois will begin an exchange this year through a federal partnership. Gov. Pat Quinn hopes to establish a state-run marketplace for 2015. 

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