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Health Exchange: How Does it Work
Health Exchange: How Does it Work

The health insurance marketplace, now named Get Covered Illinois, will open Tuesday.

The marketplace will be a website where customers can see their options for purchasing health insurance, and what the price is. There will be choices, says Kelly Sullivan, the chief spokesman for the marketplace. “There are four levels of rates – bronze, silver, gold and platinum. They all cover you the same way. They all have the same health care coverage benefits. The difference in those metal levels is how much do you want to pay per month vs. how much do you want to pay out of your pocket at the time you need hospitalization or a surgery,” she said.

The exchange is for the 1.8 million Illinoisans who do not have health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, they’re required to get it.

Insurance purchased on the exchange will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, so there is no urgency to sign up on Opening Day, Sullivan says.

The prices shown will be reduced by tax credits for consumers with annual incomes below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Those with incomes below 138 percent of poverty will be directed to the Medicaid site, because Medicaid has expended eligibility to accommodate those consumers.

Sullivan says the marketplace expects to enroll 300,000 people in the first year.