Illinois Lawmakers Question Who Will Pay for Health Insurance Exchange

Illinois lawmakers are moving forward with legislation that would create an online health insurance exchange, despite questions over who will foot the $89 million bill, according to a FOX Illinois report.

Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) introduced legislation last week that would create the online marketplace with a governing board and framework to fund the project. Each state is mandated to set up an operational health insurance exchange by 2014, according to the healthcare reform law. The law also requires lawmakers to create an exchange by June 2012 so the model can be tested by 2013.

If states do not meet the federally-imposed deadline, the federal government will set in and take over implementation. Rep. Mautino said he intends to present his proposal to lawmakers during the second week of the veto session and hopes for a vote as soon as possible.

The central question facing Illinois lawmakers is who will pay to run the health insurance exchange after 2014. While the federal government will distribute one-time grants for implementation, the yearly operation costs are expected to total between $57 million and $89 million.

Rep. Mautino's legislation would impose a fee on insurers to pay for the marketplace. The exchange is based on CHIP, Illinois' pool of insurance plans for children from low-income families.

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