Illinois to award $5M for health insurance outreach

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois plans to award $5 million in federal grant money to community groups for consumer outreach during the third annual health insurance enrollment period. Far fewer positions will be funded than before.

The state’s Get Covered Illinois campaign has been paid for with federal grants under the Affordable Care Act. Grants are running out and there is no new money for states.

Up to 150 enrollment counselor positions will be funded under an extension that allows Illinois to use unspent money. Last year, about 400 similar positions were paid for with federal grants of $28.7 million.

Grantees will help Get Covered Illinois increase insurance enrollment and develop health insurance literacy.

Consumers can shop for private health insurance on the marketplace beginning Nov. 1. The enrollment period closes Jan. 31, 2016.