Guest Column: The Affordable Care Act — What it means to you and your family

By Daniel Yunker
Chief Executive Officer, Land of Lincoln Health

We are at an important turning point in the nation’s health care history with the launch of the health insurance marketplace, often called the “Exchange” as part of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare.” This gives every American — and the nearly 48,000 uninsured people in Winnebago County — the opportunity to get health insurance for themselves, their families and their businesses.

Laws within the ACA require that by Jan. 1, 2014, almost all individuals younger than 65 will need to have health insurance through their employer, through Medicare or Medicaid, or directly through the online health insurance marketplace. The good news is that no one can be denied coverage, and insurance can’t be rated based on a pre-existing condition or illness. Some people may even qualify for subsidies or discounts on their health insurance premium.

For many, the premium, or monthly cost, is what people consider first when looking at health insurance plans. However, when looking at pricing, people must consider total cost; taking into account not just the monthly cost, but the cost of the yearly deductible and co-pays as well. An additional consideration is the network of doctors and hospitals included in the plan to be sure people are getting the care they need, where and when they need and want it. Many low-cost plans offer narrow networks and don’t include a range of hospitals and doctors. It’s important for consumers to not be afraid to use their health coverage because they can’t afford it when it’s time to use it.

People now have more choice, as all insurance companies in Illinois were invited to offer plans in the marketplace so people have a range of choices to find what best fits their needs. There are numerous plans at many prices for Illinois residents to choose from, and rates in Illinois are lower than in many other states.

One of those choices is Land of Lincoln Health, the first and only consumer-operated and consumer-oriented health insurance plan (CO-OP) in Illinois, which is offering 35 health insurance plans on the State of Illinois’ health insurance marketplace. Land of Lincoln Health is a nonprofit health insurance company with the primary focus of improving services for its members by putting back extra revenue into the system. Land of Lincoln Health also offers a large network of hospitals and doctors across its plans and is pleased to be working with health care providers throughout the Rockford area.

Land of Lincoln Health insurance plans are available for purchase on the Land of Lincoln Health website at or by calling 888-858-9130 to speak to an enrollment specialist.

Posted Dec. 11, 2013

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