Short Cuts: IL taking shot at their own exchange; ACA tough sell in the South; CVS taking Humana payments

Illinois lawmakers may have one more chance to approve a state-run health insurance marketplace during the fall legislative session that starts today, and they are under pressure from an end-of-the-year deadline and a pending court decision.

Supporters of creating a state-run website say the impending deadline to receive up to $300 million in federal funding plus a U.S. Supreme Court decision on tax credits due in the spring create urgency. Currently, Illinois residents purchase insurance on the national HealthCare.gov website.

North Carolina is at the forefront of a strategy being employed in conservative states across the country: Obamacare advocates working around their state governments to implement the law. In Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and other states, there is intense organizing by coalitions of groups to sign people up for Obamacare, which started open enrollment on Nov. 15 for its second year. In some states, these efforts are led by openly liberal groups, such as the Texas Organizing Project, which is involved heavily in ACA promotion but also backed Democrat Wendy Davis’ unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign.

National health insurer Humana said Tuesday that policyholders who have bought its health plans on a federal or state insurance exchange or through its website can now pay their monthly premiums at anyCVS Health store.

The move can be seen as an attempt by insurers like Humana to more directly engage their growing customer base and improve consumers' adherence to their payment obligations, observers say.