Durbin Urges Residents to Get Covered Before ACA Enrollment Deadline on Friday

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged those who are uninsured to take action before the December 15th deadline in order to get health care coverage that begins in January. Despite uncertainty in Congress and efforts from President Trump to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions have signed up so far this year. About 350,000 people in Illinois purchase their health insurance in the individual market and nearly 300,000 of them are eligible for tax credits that help keep their premiums below $100 a month. People in Illinois can call (Get Covered Illinois: 866-311-1119), go online (www.Healthcare.gov), or get in-person help to sign up for health insurance that will cover them next year.


“Despite the efforts of President Trump and the frenzy in Washington over health care, I want to make it clear that health insurance under the ACA is open for business. This Friday, December 15, is the deadline for open enrollment in individual market health insurance plans. Don’t wait until the last minute—get covered today,” Durbin said.


“After spending months repeatedly trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress passed a sweeping tax measure that could cause 13 million Americans to lose their health insurance and increase premiums by hundreds of dollars. Instead of voting on another partisan repeal bill, Congress should be focused on pressing health issues like reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”


President Trump and his Administration have spent the last year sabotaging the ACA—including cutting the open enrollment period in half, ending advertising that encourages and informs people about how to sign up for insurance, signing an Executive Order directing federal agencies not to enforce the law, ending subsidies that help people afford their co-payments and deductibles, and slashing funding for organizations that help enroll people in health plans.


The recent tax bill passed in the Senate repeals the ACA’s individual mandate and slashes Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. The Republican tax legislation is opposed by every major medical, provider, and patient organization, including hospitals, AARP, American Medical Association, and the American Heart, Lung, and Diabetes Associations.


Over two months ago, Congress failed to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before the program’s funding expired on October 1. First created in 1997, CHIP is a bipartisan program that ensures 9 million children nationwide have access to health care, including 325,000 in Illinois. The program benefits children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other coverage. If Congress doesn’t act, CHIP will run out of funding next year.


More than 20 million uninsured Americans have gained health coverage under the ACA – including one million in Illinois – bringing our nation’s uninsured rate below 10 percent for the first time in history. Thanks to the ACA, insurers can no longer deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition, discriminate based on gender or health status, or impose annual or lifetime caps on benefits. Insurers must now cover important health care: maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and hospitalizations. The ACA also expanded Medicaid to cover millions of newly eligible Americans—650,000 in Illinois—and provided enhanced federal funds to help pay for the expansion population.