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Summer 2014

It’s been a busy summer for us in health care advocacy. We've had to cope with a last-minute stopgap budget and the departure from the ACA Marketplace of Illinois' only insurance co-op; mount an "all hands on deck" effort to save our SHIPs; and keep on top of fluctuating start dates of a long-awaited reform meant to clarify patients' Medicare observational status. Thanks to the advocacy of many, our SHIPs were saved; but there’s more to do every day. Read about the highlights of our summer – and how we can we continue making our voices heard.

An Illinois-Only Special Enrollment

When Land of Lincoln Health shuts down – only a few weeks from now – 49,000 people will need to find new coverage. LLH coverage for both consumers and employer groups will end on October 1. The good news is that a special enrollment period is already open to help LLH custmers find new coverage.

Use the Get Covered Connector to find free help with the change; read our consumer alert for more information.

Please note that providers will still get paid for services to LLH customers; and that until October 1, consumers and employers must continue paying their premiums.

On our site

We have updated the Data Matters feature to make it easier to find what you need, with separate sections listing all maps and charts for the state and the Chicago area.

See the maps of zip codes in Illinois and the Chicago metro area with 50 or more ACA signups in the last round of open enrollment.

As always, drop us a line at with your thoughts and suggestions.

In case you missed it

The "MOON" Is Waxing and Waning
You may recall that the NOTICE Act was supposed to take effect August 6. The act requires hospitals to start using the new Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice to inform Medicare patients about their observation status and its potential financial consequences. HDA and MMW spearheaded efforts on the flood of comments that went in on the NOTICE Act in Illinois. CMS received so many comments that they delayed issuing final rules, which means the act will not go into effect until 90 days following approval – not until late fall at the earliest. See our blog post on MOON and check out a recent update from our partners at the Center for Medicare Advocacy on implementation of the NOTICE Act.

The Benefits of BENES
Medicare is complicated, and it has been a long-standing issue that people nearing Medicare eligibility may not have the information they need to decide whether and when to enroll. The "Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification? or BENES Act is a bipartisan bill introduced this summer to clarify and simplify the Part B enrollment process. HDA is spearheading efforts with disability aging coalitions in the Midwest and Illinois via our partnership with the MMW to support the BENES Act. If you or your organization is interested, please contact us at

Our SHIPs Were Saved!
After the Senate proposed cuts to SHIP, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, the House Appropriations Committee was flooded with appeals against defunding the program, and the subcommittee with jurisdiction over aging programs rejected the cuts. Many thanks to those who participated in HDA’s and MMW’s call to action – your efforts ensured that Rep. Quigley knew we supported his efforts to reject these cuts.

Our Six-Month Stopgap Budget
Acting under intense pressure to ensure that schools would open in the fall, Gov. Rauner signed a measure that is barely even a temporary solution to many larger problems Illinois faces. Pay Now Illinois sued the governor in May for compensation for social service providers, arguing that it "created ?an unconstitutional situation by vetoing money last year for services and then enforcing contract terms anyway." Reboot Illinois has published an interactive map of the ongoing damage to the state from the budget failure.

For your action

Two new bills could make a difference to victims of rape in Illinois. SB 2221 (Public Act 99-0617) was signed by the governor July 22, effective immediately. It requires labs to notify law enforcement when a rape kit matches the DNA from a suspect or a subject in the FBI?s DNA database and instructs law enforcement agencies to provide an annual report of all open sexual assault cases. SB 3096, which awaits the governor?s signature, would require law enforcement agencies to train responders to cases of sexual violence on trauma-informed and survivor-centered policies and responses. In addition, the bill mandates law enforcement to make a written report in cases of reported sexual assault or abuse, update survivors if a DNA match is made, and inform the survivor that post-assault medical care, including a forensic exam, is free of charge. Call Gov. Rauner toll free at 1-217-782-0244 to voice your support.

From our social media

On Twitter
@ILHealthMatters: Income inequality means healthcare inequality. Here's why the ACA helps but doesn?t address fundamental problems

On Twitter
@ILHealthMatters: Unlike other states, Illinois keeps potential #Obamacare premium hikes secret says @ameetsachdev

On Facebook
Curious about managed care in your region? An updated IL map was released this month [July] so you can see for yourself

For the latest on how the ACA and other developments are impacting health care in Illinois, stay connected with us on Twitter and Facebook and at our website. You can email us at And if you have friends or colleagues who are interested in these issues, please feel free to forward the newsletter to them.

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