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posted: 9/30/2013 6:00 AM

Your health: Illinois' health insurance marketplace and you

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  • Pat Quinn

    Pat Quinn


Illinois health insurance market

This week, Illinois plans to launch a new health insurance marketplace where consumers can shop online for coverage that's required under the nation's health care law. Consumers have until Dec. 15 to sign up if they want coverage to start Jan. 1. About 1.8 million Illinois residents are uninsured. Many of them will qualify for free health coverage under an expanded Medicaid program. Others with low or moderate household incomes will be eligible for tax credits that will drop their costs lower than the rates, Gov. Pat Quinn's office said.

Here's a look at selected prices of insurance policies:

Bronze plans will have lower monthly premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays; silver plans will have higher monthly premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs. The price varies based upon where you live. These figures are for Cook County residents who are nonsmokers:

Lowest cost bronze plan: $120 for 25-year-olds, $152 for 40-year-olds, $266 for 55-year-olds.

Lowest cost silver plan: $165 for 25-year-olds, $210 for 40-year-olds, $367 for 55-year-olds.

Med research often exaggerated

Researchers seeking new medical treatments need to be much stricter in their animal studies and make their results -- and especially their failures -- more accessible if they are to improve the chances of finding drugs for Alzheimer's disease and other conditions that have been notoriously stubborn to treat, according to a new paper from Stanford.

An analysis of nearly 4,500 animal studies found almost twice as many reports of positive results -- meaning, the treatment being studied showed statistical significance of being effective -- than one would expect given the parameters of the study designs, said Dr. John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford who was lead author of the paper.

In other words, based on statistics alone, it's clear that many animal studies are biased to produce positive results, which then are used to push treatments into human clinical trials, and in some cases put drugs on the market.

That bias -- which is usually subtle and probably unintentional, Ioannidis said -- helps explain why drugs to treat stroke and Alzheimer's and a host of other challenging conditions often seem so promising in mice and other animal studies, only to fail in human experiments.

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