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updated: 5/8/2013 5:17 PM

Big ad agencies bid on Illinois health outreach

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Associated Press

Some of the largest ad agencies in the nation are competing for a multimillion dollar contract with the state of Illinois to promote a feature of the national health overhaul law.

Illinois officials began evaluating bids from 13 companies Wednesday for the marketing of the new health insurance marketplace. The budget could reach $30 million to $35 million, with funding from a federal grant.

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Familiar names among the bidders include J. Walter Thompson, Fleishman-Hillard and Golin Harris.

President Barack Obama's national health law requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty. New insurance marketplaces are scheduled to be operating in every state by Oct. 1. People who are uninsured will be able to comparison-shop for affordable health plans on these websites.

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