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August 2014

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Are You Breastfeeding Aware?

Did you know that the beginning of August is Breastfeeding Awareness Week? Breastfeedingis a beneficial option for babies and momsbut it is not always easy. Breastfeedinginvolves adequate education, access to care, and support to be a viable choice.

The Affordable Care Act has provisions that work to ensure that breastfeeding is a possibility for all moms. The ACA requires that employers provide adequate break time to employees to express milk. It also requires thathealth plans cover benefits including breastfeeding supplies such as pumps, and breastfeeding education.

Despite requirements of the law, some women still have trouble accessing these services.Breastfeed Chicagohas lots of resources to help communicate with insurance companies or employers, get educated, and find lactation consultants or other support.

From our blog

Did Obamacare Destroy Competition in the Private Insurance Market? One of the biggest criticisms of the Affordable Care Act was that it would be the death of the private insurance marketplace. Opponents of healthcare reform cautioned that the law change would crowd out private innovation in the market and make insurance carriers less interested in competing.

But if we take a closer look back at the progression of insurance company involvement in Illinois, I think we’ll find that not only was this not the case – but in reality, the reverse was true. Read more...

On our site

As you may have noticed, the home page carousel has been freshened up with some new slides more relevant to people's concerns now that the first wave of enrollment is over. ... We're preparing for the next round, and we've equipped all the browsable topics with short descriptions and visual elements, and are adding links to key resources at the top of each. For example, take a look at the Essential Health Benefits topic. ... Also last month, we updated our visualization of the uninsured in Illinois with slightly more-recent data from the American Community Survey. But sadly, this is still pre-ACA data, as the state continues to wait on the federal government for sub-state numbers of people enrolled through the Marketplace. We hope to server you better, so drop us a line at with your thoughts and suggestions.

In case you missed it

Halbig – On July 22 the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that ACA subsidies should only be available in states that set up their own exchanges. The same day, a different federal court reached the opposite conclusion in King v. Burwell.

Enrollment rolls on – Federal data obtained by ProPublica under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that there were nearly 1 million transactions on the exchange between April 19 and July 15.

Community Health Workers – Signed by Governor Quinn into law on July 31, the Community Health Worker Act "sets forth core competencies for effective community health workers as members of health teams."

Recent resources

Planning hospital after-care
How to select a skilled nursing facility

How to apply, how to find a doc or dentist, and more.
Medicaid FAQ: Access and Eligibility

Illinois consumers get direct access to records
Public access to insurance company filings

Oral health is important for children with special healthcare needs
Access oral health care in Illinois


Find enrollment events in your area at the Get Covered Illinois Events page.

Find volunteer and community engagement opportunities at Get Covered America Events page.

Download a presentation and/or watch a recording from the EverThrive Illinois Webinar series.

Learn what the ACA means for a small business owner from the Small Business Majority's Thursday talks.

Get regular updates on educational events for consumers, providers, and policy wonks alike onIllinois Health Matters' Events Page

From our social media

On Twitter
@ILHealthMatters: ICYMI: Illinois is one of only 6 states spending less than $6,000 per Medicaid enrollee

On Twitter
@ILHealthMatters: "Walking The Uninsured Through Obamacare Sign-Ups Is Tiring and Tedious. It Also Works" by @JeffYoung

On FacebookStill haven't heard of subsidies? Well let me tell ya, this form of financial assistance was granted to 77% of Illinoisians to help to pay premiums (your monthly cost of health insurance policy). Apply for financial assistance when you enroll on the marketplace. (The next enrollment starts November 15th – just an early reminder!)

On LinkedIn
Posted in "Healthcare Reform": The rebates are coming What do we think about how well the ACA's "medical loss ratio" provision worked? U.S. health insurers to pay $330 million in premium rebates

For the latest on how the new health care law is impacting Illinois, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can also email us at or submit your question here about how healthcare reform affects you.

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