During the last Affordable Care Act open enrollment period I had numerous clients tell me they wanted Land of Lincoln has their insurance carrier. My response in every case was, “no you don’t!” I really thought they would be shut down by January 1. 2016. I guess I was off by about six or eight months. The State of Illinois has moved to take control of the struggling health insurance company, leaving 49,000 looking for new insurance coverage.
Land of Lincoln is the Illinois Health Insurance Co-op started under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Like all of the Co-ops, they were given a loan by the United States Government or shall we say the tax payer. Land of Lincoln’s loan was $160 million. Land of Lincoln lost over $90 million in 2015 and almost $20 million this year. It also owes a payment of $31.8 million to the government as part of the risk adjustment portion of the healthcare law in which all carriers are required to pay into. The acting Department of Insurance director Anne Melissa Dowling petitioned the federal government to delay Land of Lincoln’s payment. It was denied. Land of Lincoln becomes the 16th of the 23 Co-ops to close their doors.
Land of Lincoln was only one of three carriers in Cook County Illinois that offered access to some of the top hospitals, it did limit its offering after the enrollment period. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of IL in 2016 eliminated some of the top hospitals from its network to try and rein in its costs. That leave Harken Health, which is only available if you live in Cook County and Coventry, which is the most expensive plan of the three. The cost of going to Northwestern or University of Chicago Hospital comes with a price!
The 49,000 policy holders who will be seeking coverage by October 1 will be granted what is called a special election and be free to chose any insurance carrier they want for the rest of the year. Here are a few issues. If they start with a new carrier, they will have to pay another deductible. The other issue is all of the insurance carriers who participate in the Affordable Care Act market have stopped paying commissions to brokers, therefore, many will not work for free so may not be to inclined to help the insured. So the person seeking coverage has to be sure they make the right choice. I for one will still help you if you need coverage!!
Thanks for reading!