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Illinois moves ahead on health insurance exchange

Associated Press Modified: November 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm •  Published: November 5, 2012
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The Illinois Department of Insurance has received proposals on the exchange contract from Infosys, CGI, Deloitte Consulting, Xerox and Cognizant Technologies Solutions.

The contract would require the work to be done in the United States, and Patt said Infosys would locate exchange operations based on state requirements. Other bidders contacted by The Associated Press for this story either said they couldn't comment before the contract is awarded, or didn't say whether the work would be done in Illinois.

The company that wins the bid would be required to design and build a website with "no wrong door" for consumers — a user-friendly site that would seamlessly guide them to Medicaid, the children's health insurance program or private insurance, depending on each consumer's eligibility. The exchange would need to share data with Illinois' Medicaid agency. Consumers would be able to find out whether they're eligible for new federal subsidies to help pay premiums, or whether they qualify for Medicaid.

"It's a fairly daunting challenge quite honestly," Patt said.

Illinois would take over full management of its exchange in 2015, the second year of the national health law's full implementation. In the first year, Illinois plans to partner with the federal government, said Colleen Burns of the Illinois Department of Insurance. If the state's plan is approved, the federal government would run the website and a call center. The state would decide which insurance plans qualify to be sold on the exchange and provide in-person consumer assistance.

"Our intent is to partner with the federal government for the first year. Once legislation has passed, we can bridge to a full state-based exchange for 2015," Burns said.

Spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said the governor plans to proceed with plans no matter who wins the election.

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AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/CarlaKJohnson .