It seemed like January 1, 2014 would never come for some Illinoisans.
These people are part of the 1.7 million people living in Illinois that will now receive financial help for affordable health coverage.
Starting on October 1, 2014, Illinoisans can begin taking the steps to get financial for health coverage either through the new insurance marketplace or through the expanded medicaid program.
The new financial help is made available through the Affordable Care Act. It is geared toward insuring the middle-and moderate income people who do not have meaningful employer-sponsored health coverage.
The financial help will extend to four-person families with annual incomes below $94, 200 and individuals with annual incomes below $45,960.
Individuals newly eligible for financial help can receive that help through a new Health Insurance Marketplace, which becomes operational on October 1. They can enroll in coverage and receive substantial premium subsidies. The subsidies will vary by income and need. Those with lower income receive a higher subsidy due to a higher need.
For Illinoisans with the lowest incomes-those with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level, which translates to $32,4999 for a family of four, and $15,856 for an individual-they will now be eligible for health coverage through the newly expanded Medicaid program.
To enroll starting on October 1, Illinoisans can visit www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.
Also a number of state organizations will be providing in-person assistance to consumers to make enrollment easier. The list of organizations can be found at this website.
According to Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, "As we count down the days to October 1, it will be important that all Illinoisans learn about these breakthrough opportunities."