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updated: 9/13/2017 8:44 AM

Blue Cross to pull small-business plan from state's ACA exchange

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois will no longer offer group plans for small businesses through the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange, the company announced this week.

"BCBSIL will continue to offer a variety of plans to small businesses off the exchange to serve the varying needs of our small business employers," a company spokeswoman said in an email.

When Obamacare went into effect, the federal government predicted that 4 million people would be covered through its Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP. It hit less than 6 percent of that goal.

Blue Cross' departure leaves downstate Health Alliance as the only insurer offering an Obamacare exchange plan in 2018 for small businesses, but options for those companies "remain steady," according to the Illinois Department of Insurance.

See the full report produced by the Chicago Sun-Times at