ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis-based nonprofit hospital system is cutting jobs. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/19zhw51 ) reports that SSM Health Care is making the announcement this week to employees. Spokeswoman Kristen Johnson says that out of respect for affected workers, details won't be made public until later this week. Some health care organizations, including BJC HealthCare in St. Louis, have cut staffs in part due to reduced government reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid services. Johnson declined to say why SSM's layoffs were necessary. SSM has 18 hospitals, two nursing homes and more than 150 outpatient sites and operates in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Public health officials expect older students at the University of Illinois to sign up for insurance coverage through the new Affordable Care Act.
Julie Pryde is the administrator of the Champaign Urbana Public Health District. She said Tuesday that many graduate students don't have insurance.
Gyung Min Choi and his wife, 32-year-old Minyoun Ham were at the office Tuesday to find coverage for her.
Choi is student at the university. He said his wife is about five weeks pregnant and didn't have health insurance. So she hasn't yet seen a doctor.
He said their only option otherwise would be private insurance that might not be affordable with his $24,000 annual income.
The Champaign-Urbana area has about 40,000 students studying at the University of Illinois.
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials have decided on a brand name for the new health insurance marketplace set to open Tuesday.
Gov. Pat Quinn's administration unveiled the name Wednesday: It's "Get Covered Illinois." The brand tagline is "The Official Health Marketplace."
Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas says the administration wanted a name that was "very clear about what this product has to offer."
The brand and logo are part of a multimillion-dollar ad campaign beginning Tuesday and building through the fall and winter. Uninsured Illinoisans have until the end of March to buy health insurance through Get Covered Illinois.
State officials expect at least 300,000 people to sign up for coverage using new options available through President Barack Obama's health care law. The Affordable Care Act requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn's administration is trickling out information about what Illinois health insurance prices will be on the new marketplace that's a backbone of President Barack Obama's health care law.
Quinn's office announced Tuesday the monthly rates for the lowest-cost plan for a 25-year-old nonsmoker will be $120 in Chicago or $128 in Peoria. For a 40-year-old nonsmoker, the monthly cost of the cheapest plan would be $152 in Chicago or $163 in Peoria.
Most Illinois residents will be able to choose from at least 34 plans when the marketplace goes live Oct. 1.
Consumers will have to wait until then to learn exactly what choices will be available in their region and how much they'll pay. New tax credits will lower costs for some, depending on household income.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is discouraging Missouri residents from signing up for health insurance under a new online marketplace.
People can begin enrolling for insurance Oct. 1 under several options that will be offered by a federally run health insurance exchange. The online shopping site is a key part of the 2010 federal health care law signed by President Barack Obama.
Kinder, a Republican, has fought against the federal health care law. He said Monday that Missouri residents should actively resist it by refusing to sign up for coverage through the insurance exchange.
Specific insurance policy options and prices aren't known yet in Missouri, although they are in some other states. That's partly because a Missouri law prohibits state officials from taking steps to implement an insurance exchange.
CLAYCOMO, Mo. (AP) — President Barack Obama is railing against attempts by, quote, a "faction of the far right" to undermine his health care law.
Obama tells an audience near Kansas City, Missouri quote, "They're focused on trying to mess with me. They're not focused on you."
Obama spoke shortly after the Republican-controlled House voted cut spending for the health care law, as part of a measure to extend current spending into December.
Obama says failure to raise the debt ceiling would send the economy into a tailspin.
SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Doctors providing primary care in Illinois can get higher Medicaid reimbursement rates through the end of 2014.
Illinois officials are reminding doctors to sign up online for the higher rates, which are expected to increase by an average of 93 percent. If doctors sign up by June 30 they can get reimbursed at the higher rate retroactively to the beginning of this year.
Julie Hamos is director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. She says the temporary raise should help increase doctors' participation in Medicaid.
That's important because thousands of uninsured Illinois residents will be newly eligible for Medicaid in 2014.
The pay increase for primary care was authorized by the Affordable Care Act.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would create a state-governed "insurance exchange" so individuals and small businesses can shop for health care coverage as required by President Obama's health law.
Lawmakers voted Thursday 37-19 to send the House a bill establishing the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.
The exchange will guide people through the purchase of health and dental plans. It will also help qualified businesses enroll employees in health insurance plans.
The Affordable Care Act requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. New marketplaces are scheduled to be operating by October.
Illinois will begin an exchange this year through a federal partnership. Gov. Pat Quinn hopes to establish a state-run marketplace for 2015.
Among the witnesses testifying for the Republican plan Monday in a House committee were officials representing medical clinics, hospitals and business groups. Some of those same people have stood by Democrats in recent weeks as they embraced a proposed Medicaid expansion for lower-income adults.
But Missouri's Republican-led committees have repeatedly defeated the Medicaid expansion backed by Obama and Democrats.
The alternative by Republican Rep. Jay Barnes would cover fewer additional adults than Obama's version while also removing some children from the Medicaid rolls. Medicaid recipients would be covered through competitively bid managed care policies and could get cash incentives for holding down their health expenses.