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Illinois overhauls health insurance marketplace website

 
 
Illinois overhauls health insurance marketplace website
CHICAGO (AP) — The state of Illinois has added more information to its state health insurance marketplace website ahead of the start of open enrollment Wednesday.
The new information allows consumers to compare health insurance plans for sale both on and off the public Affordable Care Act exchange. The website, available at getcovered.illinois.gov, previously hasn't included information about all plans or the ability to enroll in them and talk to licensed brokers.
Illinois Department of Insurance Director Jennifer Hammer says the agency used part of a $1 million state appropriation to overhaul the website and its services. She says the agency is "going to utilize all the tools available" to help consumers choose the best plans and products.
This year more than 350,000 Illinoisans enrolled in health insurance coverage through the exchange. Open enrollment runs through Dec. 15.
 
Legislative activist claims Illinois senator harassed her
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A legislative activist has testified that a Chicago state senator sexually harassed her while she worked with him on a piece of legislation.
Denise Rotheimer told the House Personnel and Pensions Committee Tuesday that Democrat Ira Silverstein said her looks were "intoxicating" and sent her unwanted messages.
Rotheimer testified in favor Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's legislation requiring annual sexual harassment training for all lawmakers and lobbyists. She says she had an emotional breakdown in 2016, lost weight and her hair because of the "power" Silverstein had and the "mind games" he played.
Silverstein told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that "there were no mind games, no power struggle." He apologized for making Rotheimer uncomfortable but says he was "just working the bill."
 
10 agriculture projects in Illinois to receive $550,000
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Ten agriculture-related projects that are looking for way to expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce in Illinois will be sharing $550,000.
In a news release, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will receive the money through the most recent federal Specialty Crop Grant Program.
The grants will go to programs that will study such issues as the best produce washing and handling techniques for farmers and look to give the poor greater access to fresh produce.
Illinois Agriculture Director Raymond Poe says it is important to support the state's specialty crop industry — which includes fruits, vegetables, nursery crops, tree nuts, horticulture and dried fruits. He adds it's important to make these crops more available throughout the state.
 
Rauner, U of I announce technology deal with Tel Aviv school
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner says collaboration between the University of Illinois and Tel Aviv University in Israel will make for groundbreaking technology and engineering initiatives.
The Republican announced the deal Monday during a trip through Israel with University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen and other university administrators and Deputy Gov. Leslie Munger.
Rauner also met Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Officials established the Illinois Innovation Network this month and announced plans for the Discovery Partners Institute. That's a program led by the University of Illinois to develop the state as a major technological innovation center for the U.S.
Killeen says Tel Aviv University has a commitment to student success and research discovery similar to that of the University of Illinois.

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