Winger's Weekly Wrap-Up for Ocotober 15th

Representative Winger and daughter Samantha attend the First Annual West Chicago Food Festival, with food and entertainment, in downtown West Chicago.
Representative Winger visits a community recycling event in Carol Stream, sponsored by the Village of Carol Stream, SCARCE, and CoreCentric Solutions Inc.

Illinois Department of Insurance Releases ACA Exchange Health Care Insurance Rates for 2019
On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) released its on-Exchange health care rate and plan analysis for Plan Year 2019, showing that rates have stabilized for the first time in recent years.

Average rates for the 2019 lowest cost silver plans decreased four percent and the lowest cost gold plans decreased by six percent from last year. Overall, rates for the lowest cost bronze plans modestly increased approximately six percent, far less than the 20 percent increase reported for 2018 rates. "Illinois consumers will finally have some relief after facing years of on average double -digit increases in health insurance premium rates," DOI Director Jennifer Hammer said. "We are starting to see signs that the Exchange is stabilizing given this year's rates, a new insurer entering the on-Exchange market in 2019, and no insurers from last year exiting."

Illinois consumers in all counties will have options to purchase health insurance coverage on the Exchange.

Get Covered Illinois (GCI) is the official health marketplace or "exchange" for health insurance for all Illinoisans. Individuals and small businesses can purchase their health insurance on the GCI website. Because GCI facilitates the federal subsidies, consumers are able to see their monthly premium at the discounted price.

DOI is advising consumers enrolling or re-enrolling in coverage to start shopping early, due to the six week enrollment period set by the federal government, and to look at all options available to them on and off the Exchange, from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018. "We continue to focus on our core mission - to protect and educate consumers," Hammer said.

"We recognize some families may have to face difficult decisions this fall, and we will be visiting all 102 counties for the second year in a row to discuss coverage and answer questions about mental health and substance use disorder treatment. We want to make sure consumers are aware of all their options."

Consumers are encouraged to visit DOI's GCI website at: https://getcovered.illinois.gov for further information and assistance, or to contact their trusted licensed insurance agent. The Get Covered Connector on the website allows consumers to search for options by zip code to find local, free application help in English or Spanish. Consumers can also use this tool to schedule in-person assistance appointments with navigators and certified application counselors. Anyone may call DOI at 866-311-1119 for additional resources and information regarding health insurance.

Illinois Department of Revenue Launches New Website
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is inviting taxpayers to explore the new look of its redesigned website; tax.illinois.gov. The new mobile-friendly website features simplified site navigation and enhanced functionality to provide businesses, tax professionals, and the public easier access to the information needed most.

"As times have changed, so have the ways taxpayers access and consume information," said Connie Beard, IDOR Director. "With this website redesign, we make it easier for the public to navigate our information, no matter what device is utilized."

Key features of IDOR's new website include encrypted security, better accessibility, a drop-down menu system at the top of every page, and real-time traffic-driven listings showing users what questions, forms, and tax types are currently garnering wide interest.

Visitors accustomed to the former IDOR website at http://tax.illinois.gov will be automatically redirected to the new website located at https://www2.illinois.gov/rev. IDOR advises anyone with previously saved bookmarks to visit the new website to update their favorites.

Department of Homeland Security Approves Illinois Drivers’ Licenses for One More Year of Air Travel 

Illinois’ drivers’ licenses are out of compliance with various REAL-ID mandates intended to maintain and increase security of U.S. air travel. The federal agency has granted Illinois a further extension of almost one year, until June 1, 2019, to move further towards compliance with these mandates. During this extension period, federal agencies will be allowed to accept currently valid Illinois drivers’ licenses as adequate ID-card identification for admittance to federal buildings, nuclear power plants, and commercial aircraft takeoff and landing space. Illinois drivers’ licenses are printed and issued by the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.

As part of its movement towards REAL-ID compliance, the Secretary of State’s office has already consolidated the way that it produces and prints out the license cards. The cards, which were once printed and handed out on the spot to applicants at local Secretary of State Driver Services offices statewide, are now manufactured in a secure facility and mailed to approved applicants. Illinois is being urged to adopt further components of the REAL-ID Act. These additional mandates impose separate sets of additional verification information that (a) new drivers’ license applicants, and (b) applicants for license renewal, will be required to provide. All applicants, including renewal applicants, may soon be asked to bring in a Social Security card, a passport or other form of secure supplemental personal identification, and proof of current address such as a utility bill that has been computer-addressed and mailed to their place of residence. In addition, new applicants may be asked to submit additional information.

ILLINOIS 200
The bicentennial celebration is set to feature a star-studded lineup for state's 200th birthday party. It will feature an original Gettysburg performance starring Hamilton Chicago’s Miguel Cervantes, a parade of sports champions, members of the Chicago Symphony, REO Speedwagon, other Illinois bands and celebrities—and more!

The celebration of Illinois’ 200th birthday will be held on Monday, December 3 in Chicago. The celebration will combine themes of patriotism, sports, history, and Illinois video and musical entertainment.

The named co-celebrants of aspects of the Illinois experience will include Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton/Chicago) and bands Styx and REO Speedwagon. Introductory emcee will be longtime Chicago news voice Bill Kurtis. Videos and music will celebrate the heritage of our 16th President, including renditions from Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning biopic. Illinois sports superstars will include Olympic athlete-immortal Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy and his band will perform the finale. For more information, go to www.illinois200.com.

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