2011

Illinois Health Matters

Screenshot of original IHM home page image, with What does health care reform mean for Illinois?A forerunner to the state’s Get Covered Illinois marketplace, IHM provided detailed information on what health reform and health access mean for the people of Illinois.

From the time President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, the State of Illinois started implementing the changes required by this law to provide affordable and quality care for all Illinois residents. Some changes came quickly; for example, as of September 23, 2010, all Illinois residents were covered by a “Patient’s Bill of Rights,” which put an end to some of the most extreme insurance abuses. But most provisions were phased in over time, and the state’s insurance marketplace did not open for business until the first day that people were supposed to be able to enroll, October 1, 2013.

During those three years, and continuing afterwards, Illinois Health Matters kept people informed about the progress of legislation for a state exchange, helped lay the groundwork for a working marketplace, and provided a running calendar of trainings and webinars. Helping pave the way to the state’s Get Covered Illinois marketplace, IHM answered questions like “What difference does it make?” “Does it affect me?” and “What is happening when?” and empowered community-based organizations such as healthcare providers, hospitals, advocacy groups, and social service agencies to assist clients and represent the interests of their constituencies. It also offered some “Myths & Facts” regarding popular misconceptions of the law.

IHM’s multimedia series, Neighborhood Stories – part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust – showcased personal stories that illustrate the difference health reform makes for real people in Illinois.

After helping more than half a million people in Illinois gain health coverage the first year, IHM continued to serve as a clearinghouse for information, keeping the healthcare delivery community informed and advocating for improvements to the healthcare system in Illinois.

Major support for Illinois Health Matters came from the Michael Reese Health Trust, the VNA Foundation, and the Polk Bros Foundation.

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