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December 2014

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Ready, Set, Enroll!

It's hard to believe that the second ACA open enrollment period is upon us, and people have untilFebruary 15 to get health insurance.

To keep advocates and policymakers informed during this shorter cycle, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell has been giving weekly enrollment updates. Unlikethis time last year, there is already preliminary data. In a conference call with journalists,Burwell said thatsignups are off to a "solid start," with 1,032,129 people submitting applications through in the first week. Of the 462,125 people who selected a plan, 222,000 chose one for the first time, and 240,000 were continuing their coverage.

In thesecond week, 520,427 applied, and 303,010 chose a plan. Again there was a roughly 50/50 split between first-time enrollees and those re-applying.

In a recent Families USA conference call, an Illinois enrollment expert noted that the state breakdown for returning and new applicants is similar to the national numbers.

Meanwhile, Secretary Burwell has promised to continue sharing information every Wednesdayand committed to providing comprehensive data every month. This all means that advocates, policymakers, and navigators – as well as Illinois Health Matters – will have ongoing updates on enrollment trends as open enrollment continues.

From our blog

Small Businesses in Illinois Lack Knowledge of What the ACA has to Offer Health & Disability Advocates recently teamed up with Crain's Chicago Business to survey towhat extent small businesses are taking advantage of the SHOP. The survey found that small businesses are largely not using the SHOP to purchase health insurance and areuniformed about it.

These findings mirror national trends. In a national survey by the National Small Business Association, 8% of small business owners reported they would use the SHOP to buy health insurance. Similar figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation were cited in a recent blog post at The New York Times. Read more...

On our site

Getting people covered is the work of many hands, and we are excitedtopost a page of Useful Sites where our users can learn about the organizations providing advocacy, information,and outreach around health access and reform. In the same vein, a new Collaborators page at the IHM Blog connects you with the people and organizations responsible for the work described in the posts and for the posts themselves. We invite ourcollaborators, friends and associates to check out their listings, and of course let us know of any corrections or omissons. And while visiting IHM, don't miss the latest Kaiser calculator in the Individuals and Families section, and the host of handy fact sheets we recently added to the Small Businesssection. As always, we welcome comments, suggestions and holiday greetings at

In case you missed it

Marketplace Competition Moderates Premium Increases: Kaiser Health News analyzed federal premium records to find that insurance premiums rose 1% on average in counties where more insurers are offering a silver plan.

Immigration Reform’s Impact on Health Care: The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute describes how President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration could reduce the rate of the uninsured in undocumented populations.

State Marketplace Bill Stalls in Springfield: The Illinois legislature failed to act on a bill that would have created a marketplace run by the state. This is the last time the legislature could have addressed the issue before the end of the year.

Recent resources

Avoiding Medicare Enrollment Troubles - People newly eligible for Medicare often experience similar problems.

2015 Analysis of Qualified Health Plans - The Department of Insurance provides highlights ofthe new lineup.

Reasons to Avoid Auto-Enrollment - Returning consumers should check and compare rather thanauto-enrolling in the same plan.

Breakdown of New Enrollment Rules - This blog post explains the process of active and passive enrollment.


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.

From our social media

On Twitter
@ILHealthMatters: OPEN ENROLLMENT is only 3 months this time around. Sign up today #ReadySetEnroll #ACA word of the week #ACAwow

On Twitter
@ILHealthMatters: #ACA word of the week: PREMIUM TAX CREDIT - financial help to pay monthly cost of health insurance #ACAwow

On Facebook
New data provides clearer picture of who gained health insurance under #ACA & who's left behind

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 send us your question here. If you have friends or colleagus interested in these issues, please feel free to forward the newsletter to them.

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