Posted Online: Jan. 03, 2013, 3:37 pm

No federal OK yet for Illinois health exchange plan

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CHICAGO (AP) Illinois officials say they expect federal approval on a proposed health insurance exchange in plenty of time to enroll the first customers on Oct. 1.

Several states on Thursday won initial federal approval on their insurance exchange plans, a key milestone in meeting the requirements of President Barack Obama's health overhaul.

Illinois wasn't among them. Gov. Pat Quinn spokesman Mike Claffey says there are still details to work out, but approval from Washington shouldn't be a problem.

The exchanges envisioned in the health law are intended to be consumer-friendly online marketplaces, one in every state. Customers will be able to comparison shop for health insurance, just as they now shop for airline tickets on the Web.

Illinois is pursuing a federal partnership to run an exchange in the first year.