Nearly 349K in Illinois sign up for marketplace health plans

CHICAGO (AP) — Nearly 349,000 Illinois residents have signed up for health insurance or were automatically renewed for coverage though the federal marketplace Eight in 10 of the enrollees live in the Chicago area. Enrollment figures released this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reflect those who picked plans or were automatically renewed from Nov. 1 through Jan. 9. Friday is an enrollment deadline for coverage starting Feb. 1. Open enrollment ends Jan. 31. The enrollment period applies only to people buying private health insurance. Those with lower incomes who qualify for public insurance through Medicaid can sign up throughout the year. Medicare, for people 65 and older, has a different signup period.