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Illinois adopts Obama’s call to allow renewal of some health plans that fell short under new law

President Barack Obamspeaks James Brady Press Briefing Room White House WashingtThursday Nov. 21 2013. Obamwas commenting about Senate's move make

President Barack Obama speaks in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Obama was commenting about the Senate's move to make it harder for Republicans to block his nominees. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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Updated: December 24, 2013 6:11AM

In line with President Barack Obama’s recommendation, Illinois announced Friday that it will allow insurance companies to renew a number of canceled health plans for at least a year without being punished.

Illinois joins 14 other states, including Florida, Texas and Ohio, in giving insurance companies the choice to renew existing health insurance policies with current policyholders.

Last week, Obama said insurers would have the option to keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled because they fall short of coverage requirements under the nation’s health overhaul, if their state allows them. The change would be effective for one year, although an extension is possible.

About 185,340 people in Illinois received notification from their insurer that their plan would terminate on Dec. 31 because they didn’t adhere to new coverage requirements, such as requirements that they cover prescription drugs and maternity care, the Illinois Department of Insurance said.

Another 476,000 Illinoisans were insured by private individual policies in 2012, according to the most recent state data. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois officials said they “are reviewing the announcement...and will determine next steps” as far as whether to renew its canceled plans.

Twitter: @MonifaThomas1

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