- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - Officials say Illinois residents with Land of Lincoln Health insurance won’t be able to transfer what they’ve paid in copays and deductibles to new plans after the failing nonprofit company goes out of business.

Illinois Department of Insurance spokesman Michael Batkins tells The Associated Press that the company’s 49,000 customers will likely have to start with a new deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. He says that was why the department advocated for the federal government to offset the payment the company owed.

“This could be very disruptive for people who either liked Land of Lincoln’s provider network or had met their deductible and other out-of-pocket limits,” said Stephani Becker, a health-care policy analyst at the Chicago-based Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

The 3-year-old startup took steps to shut down Tuesday after losing $90 million in 2015 and more than $17 million through May 31. The final blow came a few weeks ago when the co-op received a $31.8 million bill from the federal government that it couldn’t afford to pay.

After a slow start in 2014, Land of Lincoln grew rapidly in 2015, finishing the year with more than 35,000 individual policyholders and about 15,000 members in small and large employer plans.

Algonquin resident Cheryl Mostowski tells the Chicago Tribune (https://trib.in/2a0ZIag ) that the company’s demise makes her feel frustrated and discouraged. She has met the $1,350 deductible on her 2016 plan and has almost reached her $3,200 out-of-pocket maximum.

“The fact that I now have to pay all deductibles and out-of-pocket costs again is truly unaffordable and unfair,” Mostowski said.

Becker said she other consumer advocates in Illinois have reached out to the insurance department to see if regulators will consider allowing enrollees to transition to new plans without resetting their deductibles and other out-of-pocket payments.


Information from: Chicago Tribune, https://www.chicagotribune.com

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