SPRINGFIELD — The state of Illinois has added more information to its state health insurance marketplace website ahead of the start of open enrollment on Wednesday.

The new information allows consumers to compare health insurance plans for sale both on and off the public Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) exchange. The website, available at getcovered.illinois.gov, previously hasn't included information about all plans or the ability to enroll in them and talk to licensed brokers.

Illinois Department of Insurance Director Jennifer Hammer said the agency used part of a $1 million state appropriation to overhaul the website and its services.

She added the agency is "going to utilize all the tools available" to help consumers choose the best plans and products.

McLean County advocates previously said that while there may be fewer plan options and premiums are increasing, people still should be able to secure coverage through the exchange created for people who aren't insured through their jobs. Lower-income applicants may qualify for government subsidies to reduce the cost.

Also, a group organized by Debbie Lubbert of Bloomington, and supported by activist groups Voices of Reason and Indivisible IL-18, is holding a bell ringing and a town crier announcement from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday in Uptown Circle, Normal.

Speakers will discuss how ACA has helped them and people will be invited to pick up fliers about the ACA open enrollment period to distribute throughout McLean County.

This year, more than 350,000 Illinoisans enrolled in health insurance coverage through the exchange. Open enrollment runs through Dec. 15. 

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