Archive for the ‘healthcare reform’ Category

Health Care: Land of Lincoln

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Key provider of Obamacare health insurance must liquidate. Land of Lincoln Health, a health care insurance co-operative set up under the terms of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), has defaulted on its payments. The State of Illinois initiated steps on Tuesday, July 12 to wind up the operations of the failing firm and shut it down. 49,000 Illinois residents had purchased mandatory health care insurance through Land of Lincoln, which sold its policies to the individual, individual family, and self-employment markets. They will have to find emergency new coverage before the close of calendar year 2016.

The failure of Land of Lincoln paralleled the failures in other states of Obamacare co-ops, which have been whipsawed by heavy claims rates and mandatory risk adjustment payments. Under the current Affordable Care Act, co-ops are required to pay expensive “risk adjustment payments” to established, private-sector health care insurers such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield. These payments are meant to compensate Blue Cross and other established insurers for the established cost base locked onto these existing insurers by the pre-existing health care conditions of these established firms’ policyholder bases. At the same time, co-ops thought they would be getting federal “risk corridor” payments to compensate them for, among other variables, the cost of the risk adjustment payments. Adequate risk-corridor payments never appeared, however, and the co-ops found that their risk adjustment payments were due in full. They faced a lethal whipsaw. One after another of these co-ops, including Land of Lincoln in Illinois, have gone or are going out of business.

Partly as a result of the ongoing failure of many firms within the ACA co-op industry, increasing numbers of Americans are facing monopoly suppliers of mandatory health care insurance. In whole states, such as Alabama, only one firm will sell insurance to individuals under terms that comply with the myriad requirements and mandates of the Affordable Care Act. In these geographic areas, U.S. citizens are required to comply with the terms and premium rates set by the single supplier.

Wellness Works 2016

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Employers large and small are invited to take part in Wellness Works 2016, a conference focusing on improving the health of their employees.

Wellness Works 2016, sponsored by the Healthy Living Council of Greater Aurora, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave. in Aurora.

The conference will inform employers about the importance of promoting healthy living in the workplace. Healthy living practices for corporate and small businesses, social service organizations, schools, government agencies and other places of employment will be explored.

A worksite wellness panel, made up of representatives from local and regional employers, will address employee assistance programs, work-life balance, worksite health initiatives, program implementation, and issues facing small employers and large-scale businesses.

Guest speakers, a variety of health and business-related exhibitors, and networking opportunities will be offered.

The registration fee of $25 includes lunch.

Exhibitors wanting to take part in the program should contact Zaida Rodriguez at Rush-Copley Medical Center, zaida.rodrigues@rushcopley.com  

 

Health Care: Ill. Co-op, ACA

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Key Affordable Care Act co-op operating in Illinois faces insolvency. Land of Lincoln Health, which believes it is the second largest provider of individual health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (50,000 consumers enrolled), owes an eight-figure sum in risk adjustment payments based upon operations undertaken by the co-op and its competitors in 2015. The Illinois Department of Insurance has ordered the health insurance co-op to cease writing new insurance business. Acting Insurance Agency Director Anne Melissa Dowling has informed federal authorities that Land of Lincoln’s books need immediate action “to prevent an immediate liquidation” of the troubled insurer.

The Affordable Care Act contains complex provisions intended to both encourage and discourage new entries into the ACA insurance market. In particular, complex subsections of the law encouraged the setup of health insurance cooperatives in many regions of the United States. Other subsections of the law created a convoluted system of “risk adjustment payments” owed by some insurers to other firms. Risk adjustment payments are supposed to provide compensatory benefits to insurers who have sick patients and present costly diagnostic codes.

During the short period of time since the ACA went into full operation, the risk adjustment policy subsection of the ACA has extracted hundreds of millions of dollars in net payments from health insurance co-ops. More than half of the co-ops operating under the ACA (13 of 23) have gone under, and Land of Lincoln is one of the remaining 10.

This Chamber Newsletter is Packed with Information

Monday, February 8th, 2016
Here is this week’s newsletter to members of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. If you have Member News to include,
please send it to us by Wednesday the week prior to publication. For more information, contact the Chamber at (630) 256-3180.
Header
February 08, 2016
In This Issue

 

Quick Links

Follow Us!
Facebook Twitter Blog

Elite Members

For more information contact the chamber.

95.9 The River
Above Board Indoor Environmental
Accurate Personnel
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora University
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
Basils Greek Dining
BKD, LLP
BMO Harris – Bilter Rd.
BMO Harris – Eola Rd.
BMO Harris – Lake St.
BMO Harris – N. Farnsworth Ave.
BMO Harris – W. Indian Trail
CARSTAR North Aurora Collision Center
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Premium Outlets
Chicago Tribune Media Group
ComEd
Copy King Office Solutions, Inc.
DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd.
Dolan & Murphy
Eby-Brown
Ice Miller LLP
Idilus, LLC
ieple, LLC.
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Magnetrol International, Incorporated
Martin Whalen Office Solutions
Mind and Body Chiropractic
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Northwestern Medicine
Cadence Fitness & Health Center
Cadence Health Convenient Care & Medical Offices
Central DuPage Hospital
Delnor Glen Senior Living
Delnor Hospital
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
Old Second National Bank
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
Ryland Homes – Ingham Park
S&S Metal Recyclers II
Safeguard Construction Company, Inc.
St. Charles Bank & Trust
Sign*A*Rama – Aurora
Sleepy’s – Farnsworth
Sleepy’s – North Aurora
Sleepy’s – Rt. 59
SmithAmundsen, LLC
Sole Unique Dance Complex, Inc.
Sprint
State Farm Insurance Companies
Steffes & Associates Language and Translation (SALT)
The UPS Store – Kirk & Butterfield
The Voice
Trust Lending
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company
WIT-Enterprises, LLC
WSPY
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Welcome New Members

Bickford Senior Living
Amy Orlando
7 S. Orchard Road
Aurora 60506
(630) 667-8206
Supportive Housing/Assisted Living

Eby-Brown
Michaleen Nendeau
2051 Baseline Road
Montgomery 60538
(630) 449-1337
Distribution Center

 

Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189
www.aurorachamber.com

 

 

Share Your Thoughts: Pulse to Report State of Regional Business
The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is pleased to partner with Old Second Bank and Invest Aurora to survey regional business and take a pulse on the economy for the area. The results of the survey will be made available at a lunch hosted by the three organizations on Wednesday, March 16. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AuroraPulse

2016 Leadership Academy Scheduled for February
Established in 1979, the Aurora Chamber’s Leadership Academy has a rich history of providing confidence, knowledge, professionalism, and strong leadership skills that not only benefit the attendee but also their employers. The goal is simple: To create a development opportunity for participants to serve and enhance themselves, their employers, and the community.

Thirty hours of class time, over the course of 10 meetings, will focus on personal and professional development of the participants through a personality inventory identification and leadership development. In addition, the unique positioning and potential of the Aurora region will be highlighted with discussions on community and economic development, local government and cultural diversity, as well as civil and social services.

Academy begins Friday, Feb. 19. For information and the application, click here.

State of the Village
Wednesday, March 9
Registration at 11:30 a.m.
Oak Street Restaurant, 945 Oak Street, North Aurora

Presented by SmithAmundsen, SALT, and Fast Color

http://business.aurorachamber.com/Events/details/ 2016-state-of-the-village-address-10335

Join us for the Annual State of the Village address. Meet with Village of North Aurora leadership and regional business owners. Hear from President Dale Berman on where the Village wants to go as a municipal government, as an organization, and as a community over the next several years. A great deal has happened over the past year in North Aurora – and a number of new and exciting opportunities to come.

http://business.aurorachamber.com/Events/details/ 2016-state-of-the-village-address-10335

Premier Members
Premier Members
Next Session Days
Both the House and Senate will return to session on Wednesday, Feb. 10, and Thursday, Feb. 11. President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak to the General Assembly Feb. 10. This marks the first time in nearly 38 years since a sitting president will address the General Assembly.
Member News
John Gorzak of Naperville was recently named vice president of commercial banking with Old Second National Bank. He will be responsible for new business development and cross-selling of bank products, as well as servicing new and existing commercial relationships.

Visit our blog for more news for and about our great members:

Farnsworth Offices’ Coffee and Conversation features a 2015 Income Tax Update

Community Foundation Announces Spring 2016 Grant Cycle Has Begun

The CF is Excited to Announce Its Newest Funds

Naper Settlement Announces March Programs

Junior Volunteers make a difference in their community

 

Events for Members
Business Development Leads Group
Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 7:45 a.m.
Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Ambassadors Committee
Thursday, Feb. 11, at 11:30 a.m.
Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Ribbon Cutting: Bright Oaks
Tuesday, Feb 23, at 10:30 a.m.
Bright Oaks, 1340 N. River Street, Aurora

Business Development Leads Group
Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7:45 a.m.
Chamber offices, 43 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, Feb. 25, at 8:00 a.m.
Pomegranate Restaurant, 55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora

2016 State of the Village Address
Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 11:30 a.m.
Oak Street Restaurant, 945 Oak Street, North Aurora

2016 State of the City Address presented
by Walter E. Deuchler Associates

Thursday, April 14, 2016
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Piper’s Banquets, 1295 Butterfield Road, Aurora

Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 | www.aurorachamber.com
This email was sent by Email Patron on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.

 

VNA Health Care Completes Successful Smoking Cessation Project

Friday, July 17th, 2015
VNA Health Care recently completed a successful smoking cessation project aimed at impacting the smoking cessation rates of patients with cardiac, diabetes or mental health diagnosis. The project was funded through a grant from the Kane County Health Department. The grant allowed VNA to provide nurse case management education and follow up to support the patients who indicate they are ready to quit smoking.
Nearly 12% of VNA’s patients are tobacco users. All tobacco using patients receive advice and counseling to quit during visits to their provider. During the smoking cessation project, VNA case managers called patients shortly after a recent visit to the health clinic and offered the opportunity for additional education specific to smoking. The case manager followed up with an additional phone call after the educational materials had been sent. By the end of the program on June 30, 298 patients participated. These patients provided a score representing their readiness to quit smoking, with the average scoring being 5.7 (with 10 being the most ready on a scale of 1 to 10). After the second follow-up call was made, 42% of the patients contacted made the decision to quit smoking. The goal of the project was to find at least 5% of these patients made the decision to quit. 
“Our patient responded very positively to the personal contact over the phone by our case managers,” said Laura Barrett, Case Management Nurse Coordinator at VNA. “Taking the time to discuss the various quit smoking support programs available allowed our patients to select the best program for their needs, and increased the success rate of this project.”
The smoking cessation project results are consistent with previous studies that show follow up with patients will result in ongoing positive impacts.  A similar study done at VNA in 2014 resulted in 36% of patients contacted making the decision to quit smoking. The process of the primary care provider identifying health risks during the office visit with follow-up within weeks is a powerful combination to support patients who desire to change their health habits.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, and is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year in United States alone. Further, smoking causes chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and diabetes. For patients with a cardiac, diabetes or mental health diagnosis, quitting helps their ability to respond to treatment.

ACA Compliance, Ribbon Cuttings, New from Your Chamber

Monday, July 6th, 2015
Here is this week’s newsletter to members of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. If you have Member News to include,
please send it to us by Wednesday the week prior to publication. For more information, contact the Chamber at (630) 256-3180.
Header
July 06, 2015
In This Issue

 

Quick Links

Follow Us!
Facebook Twitter Blog

Elite Members

For more information contact the chamber.

95.9 The River
Above Board Indoor Environmental
Accurate Personnel
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora University
Bad Monkey Circus Agency: Websites-Video
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
Basils Greek Dining
BKD, LLP
BMO Harris
CARSTAR North Aurora Collision Center
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Premium Outlets
Chicago Tribune Media Group
ComEd
Continental Acura of Naperville
Continental Audi of Naperville
Continental Mazda of Naperville
Copy King Office Solutions, Inc.
DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd.
Green Buddha Life Books
Ice Miller LLP
Idilus, LLC
ieple, LLC.
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Magnetrol International, Incorporated
Martin Whalen Office Solutions
Mind and Body Chiropractic
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Northwestern Medicine
Cadence Fitness & Health Center
Cadence Health Convenient Care & Medical Offices
Central DuPage Hospital
Delnor Glen Senior Living
Delnor Hospital
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
Old Second National Bank
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
Ryland Homes – Ingham Park
S&S Metal Recyclers II
Safeguard Construction Company, Inc.
Sign*A*Rama – Aurora
Sleepy’s – Farnsworth
Sleepy’s – North Aurora
Sleepy’s – Rt. 59
SmithAmundsen, LLC
St. Charles Bank & Trust
State Farm Insurance Companies
The UPS Store – Kirk & Butterfield
The Voice
Trust Lending
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company
WIT-Enterprises, LLC
WSPY
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Welcome New Members

Kirhofer’s Sports
Doug Kirhofer
2112 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 897-2322
Sporting Goods

North Central College Office of Graduate & Continuing Education
Pamela Monaco
30 N. Brainard St., Office 101
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 637-5555
Education

M Burger
Jeffery Ward
1650 Premium Outlet Blvd.
Aurora, IL 60502
Restaurants & Taverns

Chaucer Freight LLC
Joseph Malinowski
1905 Marketview Dr., Ste. 241
Yorkville, IL 60560
(630) 882-9103
Trucking & Transportation

 

Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189
www.aurorachamber.com

 

 

Does ACA Compliance Keep You Up at Night?
ACA Compliance

Last chance to register…
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Sponsored by Konen Insurance Agency
Belle Salle Banquets, 1920 E. New York Street, Aurora
Registration and Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m.

ACA has most employers anxious about its impact on their businesses, particularly those with more than 30 employees. Would learning how to turn it to your advantage in controlling your premiums be worth attending our event?

While enrolling employees in benefit plans, many employers run afoul of compliance with multiple governing agencies, including the IRS. Would you attend our event to learn how to stay out of jail?

Who Should Attend?
Executives, HR Directors, and Department Managers of employers with 30 or more FTEs will find value.

Space is limited. Please register today.

Register

Premier Members
Premier Members
Events for Members
ACA Compliance Program
Wednesday, July 8, 7:30 a.m.
Belle Salle Banquets
1920 E. New York St., Aurora
Register

Business Development Leads Group 2
Wednesday, July 8, 8:00 a.m.
Chamber office

Chicago Premium Outlets Job Fair
Thursday, July 9, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Piper’s Banquet Hall
1295 Butterfield Rd., Aurora

Business Development Leads Group 1
Tuesday, July 14, 7:45 a.m.
Chamber office

Ribbon Cutting: Kane County Fair
Wednesday, July 15, at noon
Fair runs July 15-19; www.kanecountyfair.com

Ribbon Cutting: Belle Salle Banquets
Thursday, July 16, at 4:00 p.m.

Coffee & Connections
Tuesday, July 21, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Painters District Council #30
1905 Sequoia Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by Costco
Register

Business After Hours – Hesed House
Thursday, July 23, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Hesed House Comprehensive Resource Center
680 S. River St., Aurora
Register

Ribbon Cutting: Wayside Cross Ministries
Friday, July 24

Ribbon Cutting: Malcolm Wolf
Thursday, July 30, at 4:00 p.m.

Fox Valley Networking Professionals
Thursday, July 30, at 8:00 a.m.
Pomegranate Restaurant
55 S. Commons Dr., Aurora
Sponsored by Anytime Fitness
Register

Our Blog
Have you checked out the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce blog lately? In addition to recent newsletters, you will find member news, public policy updates, community information, and much more.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 | www.aurorachamber.com
This email was sent by Email Patron on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Events, Programs, News for Chamber Members

Monday, June 29th, 2015
Here is this week’s newsletter to members of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. If you have Member News to include,
please send it to us by Wednesday the week prior to publication. For more information, contact the Chamber at (630) 256-3180.
Header
June 29, 2015
In This Issue

 

Quick Links

Follow Us!
Facebook Twitter Blog

Elite Members

For more information contact the chamber.

95.9 The River
Above Board Indoor Environmental
Accurate Personnel
Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Aurora University
Bad Monkey Circus Agency: Websites-Video
Baird & Warner – Holli Thurston
Basils Greek Dining
BKD, LLP
BMO Harris
CARSTAR North Aurora Collision Center
Caterpillar, Inc.
Chicago Premium Outlets
Chicago Tribune Media Group
ComEd
Continental Acura of Naperville
Continental Audi of Naperville
Continental Mazda of Naperville
Copy King Office Solutions, Inc.
DiGiovine Hnilo Jordan + Johnson Ltd.
Green Buddha Life Books
Ice Miller LLP
Idilus, LLC
ieple, LLC.
K-Rise Systems, Inc.
Kluber Architects & Engineers
Konen Insurance Agency
Leave Me Bee Pest Control, Inc.
Magnetrol International, Incorporated
Martin Whalen Office Solutions
Mind and Body Chiropractic
Mitutoyo America Corporation
Mooney & Thomas P.C.
Northwestern Medicine
Cadence Fitness & Health Center
Cadence Health Convenient Care & Medical Offices
Central DuPage Hospital
Delnor Glen Senior Living
Delnor Hospital
LivingWell Cancer Resource Center
Old Second National Bank
Painters District Council 30
Paramount Arts Centre
Pipe Fitters Local 597
Plum Landing Retirement Community
Presence Mercy Medical Center
R.C. Wegman Construction Company
Rasmussen College
Resurrection Lutheran Church/School
Rich Harvest Farms
Rush-Copley Medical Center
Ryland Homes – Ingham Park
S&S Metal Recyclers II
Safeguard Construction Company, Inc.
Sign*A*Rama – Aurora
Sleepy’s – Farnsworth
Sleepy’s – North Aurora
Sleepy’s – Rt. 59
SmithAmundsen, LLC
St. Charles Bank & Trust
State Farm Insurance Companies
The UPS Store – Kirk & Butterfield
The Voice
Trust Lending
Two Brothers Roundhouse
Valley Fastener Group, LLC
Waubonsee Community College
Weldstar Company
WIT-Enterprises, LLC
WSPY
Zippy Shell Fox Valley

Contact Us

Mail: 43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180
Fax: (630) 256-3189
www.aurorachamber.com

 

 

Does ACA Compliance Keep You Up at Night?
ACA Compliance

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Sponsored by Konen Insurance Agency
Belle Salle Banquets, 1920 E. New York Street, Aurora
Registration and Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m.

ACA has most employers anxious about its impact on their businesses, particularly those with more than 30 employees. Would learning how to turn it to your advantage in controlling your premiums be worth attending our event?

While enrolling employees in benefit plans, many employers run afoul of compliance with multiple governing agencies, including the IRS. Would you attend our event to learn how to stay out of jail?

Who Should Attend?
Executives, HR Directors, and Department Managers of employers with 30 or more FTEs will find value.

Space is limited. Please register today.

Register

Premier Members
Premier Members
Events for Members
ACA Compliance Program
Wednesday, July 8, 7:30 a.m.
Belle Salle Banquets
1920 E. New York St., Aurora
Register

Business Development Leads Group 2
Wednesday, July 8, 8:00 a.m.
Chamber office

Chicago Premium Outlets Job Fair
Thursday, July 9, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Piper’s Banquet Hall
1295 Butterfield Rd., Aurora

Business Development Leads Group 1
Tuesday, July 14, 7:45 a.m.
Chamber office

Coffee & Connections
Tuesday, July 21, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Painters District Council #30
1905 Sequoia Dr., Aurora
Register

Business After Hours – Hesed House
Thursday, July 23, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Hesed House Comprehensive Resource Center
680 S. River St., Aurora

Our Blog
Have you checked out the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce blog lately? In addition to recent newsletters, you will find member news, public policy updates, community information, and much more.
Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. Aurora, Illinois 60506
Phone: (630) 256-3180 Fax: (630) 256-3189 | www.aurorachamber.com
This email was sent by Email Patron on behalf of Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Does ACA Compliance Keep You Up At Night?

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Wednesday,
July 8, 2015

7:30 a.m. Registration

$15 per person (includes continental breakfast and answers)

Belle Salle Banquets
1920 E. New York
Aurora 60502

Does ACA Compliance
Keep You Up at Night?

ACA has most employers anxious about its impact on their businesses, particularly those with more than 30 employees. Would learning how to turn it to your advantage in controlling your premiums be worth attending our event?

While enrolling employees in benefit plans, many employers run afoul of compliance with multiple governing agencies, including the IRS. Would you attend our event to learn how to stay out of jail?

PRESENTED BY
43 W. Galena Blvd.
Aurora 60506
(630) 256-3180

 

2570 Beverly Drive #100

Aurora 60502

(630) 897-4239 

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Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce | 43 W. Galena Blvd. | Aurora | IL | 60506

 

 

Aurora to Host a Number of Get Covered Illinois Events

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

The first of a number of Get Covered Illinois events in Aurora will be held Monday, Dec. 15, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Prisco Center, 150 W. Illinois Avenue. More events will be held through February 2015. Whether you need to find healthcare insurance or renew your current health insurance, certified navigators will help answer your questions and assist your enrollment.

What’s In Store in Springfield

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The week before Thanksgiving, the General Assembly returned to Springfield on Wednesday and Thursday to continue discussions on legislation addressing a number of topics and issues.

This week, Veto Session continues with the legislators returning for a second week Tuesday through Thursday. Although a number of topics are expected to be discussed, many observers believe few points of interest will be acted on.

Gov. Elect Bruce Rauner has asked current elected officials to hold off on passing anything major during the session. A recent conference call with Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs staff included highlights on the following:

Minimum Wage Hike

Despite nearly three years of legislative debate and an advisory referendum placed on the ballot last month that received more than 67 percent approval from the voters, it appears unlikely that a vote increasing the minimum wage will take place during veto session. Illinois already has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation and small businesses simply cannot afford an increase of nearly 21 percent to their labor costs as our state’s economy continues to recovery from the Great Recession and our economic growth lags behind neighboring states.

Amendment #5 to SB 68 was debated late last week. Current write up calls for a staggered minimum wage increasing from $9.25 to $11 over the next three years.

Many expect this to be a January issue andduring a recent conference call, reference was made that most of the fight would take place in the House.

Manufacturers’ Purchase Credit

In August, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Purchase Credit (MPC) was subject to the automatic sunset provisions of the Illinois sales tax. The Illinois Chamber has been actively reaching out to legislators over the summer to explain how important the MPC credit is to our manufacturing members throughout the state and working to make sure that extension of the MPC is on a list of items to be considered during fall veto session. While there are no guarantees given, extension of the MPC is certainly an opportunity for members of the General Assembly to send a signal that legislators are willing to be responsive to the needs of the Illinois business community.

Premium Tax for Self-Insured Companies

Active consideration appears to be given to repeal the recently-enacted insurance premium tax (SB 3324/Public Act 98-0978) during fall veto session. The new tax imposes a 3.5 percent tax on insurance premiums paid directly by Industrial Insureds to unauthorized insurers (without the use of a Surplus Lines Broker) — in short, almost all self-insurers, including some large not-for-profits.

Prior to SB 3324, these self-insurance transactions were exempt from premium tax. Most legislators, including the bill’s sponsor, have indicated that they were not made aware of the new tax and its significant negative effect on Illinois-based businesses as the bill moved through the General Assembly. In fact, the new tax was not mentioned during House and Senate floor debates on the bill. Legislators that did not understand the full impact of SB 3324 will hopefully now have an opportunity to reconsider their vote prior to the January 1 effective date of the new tax.

Health Benefits Exchange

Advocates and coalition members for a state-based healthcare exchange are expected to meet during veto session to discuss the possibility of introducing legislation in the House to create a state-based exchange. The Senate has already passed a bill. The House could not reach consensus on the issue and it stalled.

Gov. Pat Quinn is urging the creation of a state-based exchange so Illinois does not potentially lose the Federal subsidies if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes them down next year in their ruling. Illinois currently partners with the Federal government to run its healthcare exchange. Federal law, as written, states tax credits to be given to individuals in exchanges established by the states. The Supreme Court will rule whether those tax credits are applicable to individual in exchanges run by the Federal government.

Those health insurers not participating on the exchange will have a capped assessment at the five-year average from their previous contribution to CHIP.

Lawsuit Lending

Legislation may also be introduced to regulate lawsuit lending in Illinois. This has been an initiative of the Illinois Chamber and others in the past and continues to be a priority to regulate an industry that seeks out plaintiffs with promising pending lawsuits and offer them “up front” cash to cover immediate living or medical expenses while they are engaged in a lawsuit and await settlement. These third-party loans are provided at exorbitant interest rates, and are then paid back to the lender from any settlement or judgment award the plaintiff may later receive.

In a real sense, the consumer lawsuit lender is a gambler who bets on the plaintiff’s case being successful. If the plaintiff recovers substantially through settlement or a damages award, the lawsuit lender wins big. But, if the plaintiff loses, the lawsuit lender recovers nothing. This fact leads lawsuit lenders to seek control over strategic decisions in litigation in order to prosecute lawsuits in their own interests, even if those interests diverge from those of the plaintiffs.

Legal reform advocates, such as the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), and consumer advocacy groups are promoting legislation that would actually protect consumers and curb lending abuses by bringing lawsuit lending into alignment with existing state law. These efforts would make consumer lawsuit lending subject to the same fair-lending laws already in force in that particular state.

Income Tax Extension

No action is expected to take place during the session.

Auto IRA

Legislation introduced earlier this year would mandate that employers set up an automatic Individual Retirement Account for their employees, a system to be administered by the Illinois Dept. of Revenue and a newly created board led by the Illinois Treasurer.

The legislation targets small businesses with 25 or more employees and forces them to set up the accounts and to automatically deduct at least 3 percent from their employees’ paychecks. An employee would have to actively pursue “opting out” if they did not want to participate.

The Illinois and Aurora chambers are part of a coalition that opposes this proposal as it is a mandate on employers, not an option. Small businesses currently have a variety of private sector options they may choose to participate in for retirement purposes. And the money from participants would not be held in or managed by a depository institution or a trained financial professional. Instead, it would be deposited into a new government holding account to be invested potentially by state officials. The consumer losses suffered under other state administered investment programs are reason enough to oppose implementing yet another government-run investment program.

Legislation for Public Utilities

During the first week of session, HA#1 and HA#2 were recommended to be adopted to HB 3975 in House Public Utilities Committee to extend the sunset date for the implementation of modernizing and upgrading Illinois’ electrical system.