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State

Illinois to submit health exchange blueprint Friday

(MCT) — Illinois plans to submit a blueprint of its health insurance exchange to the federal government on Friday, state health officials said Thursday afternoon.

By 2014, all states must have an active exchange where individuals and small businesses can shop for health insurance plans based on cost, provider networks and coverage options.

Illinois plans to partner with the federal government on the online marketplace mandated under the 2010 health care overhaul law.

States originally were required to submit their exchange blueprints by Friday, but federal health officials decided last week to extend the deadline to Dec. 14. All states still must notify the government Friday if they plan to set up their own exchange or to allow the federal government to do so for them.

Illinois chose to partner with the federal government for the first year of the exchanges, before taking over control in fall 2014, in time for open enrollment for 2015.

State insurance officials said they expect the marketplace to include several hundred health insurance plans offered by multiple providers.

The blueprint they plan to submit Friday will be "a living document" that's expected to evolve as federal and state governments set policy, said Colleen Burns of the Illinois Department of Insurance.

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