Fewer health applicants than expected in Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials say they've received applications from just six insurance carriers wanting to sell 165 health policies on the online insurance marketplace that's a cornerstone of the nation's new health care law.

The number of proposals is far fewer than what Illinois officials expected. Officials had hoped 260 health plans would be offered by 16 different insurance carriers.

It raises concerns the trend will hold true across the country. Fewer health plans could mean less competition and possibly higher premium prices.

The national health law requires most Americans to have health insurance beginning Jan. 1. Many people who are now uninsured will buy health insurance through the government online marketplace because they'll be able to get tax credits to help pay for it.

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