Illinois to partner with HHS on healthcare exchange

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“I applaud efforts by Illinois to build a new health insurance marketplace,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Working together, we will be ready in eight months when residents of Illinois will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans.”

Exchanges will function as online marketplaces where people who don't get health coverage through an employer can buy private insurance, usually with help from a government subsidy.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) praised President Obama in announcing the conditional approval. 

Although the partnership model is partially geared toward Republican governors who resisted state-based exchanges until it was too late to establish one, the model is available to any state that isn't ready to meet the Oct. 1 deadline for open enrollment.

States can either remain partners with the federal government or gradually take over more of their exchanges as they're able.