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Carle Health and Aetna have reached a tentative agreement on an Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO contract effective January 1

(Urbana-jm) – Carle Health and Aetna have reached a tentative agreement on an Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO contract effective January 1, 2023, with Carle hospitals and provider offices in Champaign, Urbana, Hoopeston, Danville, Mattoon, Charleston and surrounding communities. Finalization of this contract will allow Medicare-eligible state retirees to continue to be seen by the Carle providers they have come to know and trust throughout the years according to a press release from Carle. Earlier this year the State of Illinois moved forward with the implementation of the Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO as the only insurance option for Medicare-eligible State of Illinois retirees. At that time, Carle Health did not have a contract with Aetna for the Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO in its east Central Illinois region. Over the past few months, Carle worked to negotiate a contract with Aetna in good faith with the goal of ensuring all in our community can access the providers they know and trust. Carle Health is pleased negotiations are poised to conclude favorably for everyone involved.


(Springfield-jm) – Two bills were filed to improve healthcare access in central Illinois. The bills, filed Monday, were drafted after a group of state retirees met last week to air their frustrations about lack of options. Representative Mike Marron of Fithian filed a bill that would require the state to offer at least two choices of insurance companies for retirees. Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet also filed a bill that would offer a voucher to the state’s retirees for a standard cost and use the voucher to an insurance plan of their choosing. The two proposals came in response to a dispute between the state’s primary health insurance option Aetna and Carle Health.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission says help is available for families struggling to fill out college applications and financial aid forms. Students and families can meet for one-on-one counseling with specially trained recent grads and there’s also a free text messaging service where you can submit your questions, says ISAC Spokesperson Lynne Baker…



Illinois Student Assistance Commission Spokesperson Lynne Baker. Baker says the best place to start is online at: student portal dot isac dot org. There you will find locations of workshops, online tools, helpful videos and other resources.


(Undated-jm) – Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker got a failing grade in a public policy organization’s fiscal policy report card on governors.  The Cato Institute examined the tax and spending choices made by governors since 2020. Governors receiving an A grade are those who have cut taxes and spending the most, while governors receiving an F, like Pritzker, have increased taxes and spending the most. Cato Institute economist Chris Edwards said one reason Pritzker’s grade was damaged was his push for a progressive tax referendum that Illinois voters rejected in 2020. Twenty-one states have cut individual or corporate income tax rates since 2020, and about 20 states have provided one-time tax rebates.  The report notes that current state budgets may diminish if the economy continues to stagnate, but fortunately states have built large rainy day funds.  Illinois' rainy day fund is around $1 billion, one of the lowest in the country.All the governors receiving an A on this year’s report are Republicans, and all the governors receiving an F are Democrats.


(Springfield-jm) – Harvest season continues across Illinois as we hear in the weekly crop report. Despite above average rainfall this past week, there were nearly five days suitable for fieldwork, says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. That includes corn harvesting…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 89 percent of soybeans have been harvested, ahead of the five year average. 80 percent of winter wheat has been planted and 26 percent has emerged. 35 percent of the wheat crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture increased to 13 percent very short, 26 percent short and 61 percent adequate.


(Urbana-jm) – Two were arrested, and police are still searching for the third after an armed robbery involving an attempted social media purchase. The armed robbery occurred at Aspen Court Apartment Complex. Three males robbed the man at gunpoint with an extended magazine pistol. They struck the victim in the head with the weapon. After receiving a tip, officers with the Urbana Police Department went to the Aspen Court Apartment Complex on Saturday Officers found two males possibly involved with the incident, both refused to comply and ran, said the Urbana Police Department. Officers were able to arrest Jakeif Green of Urbana before he entered an address off of Hunter and Lierman Streets. The other arrested individual is a 16-year-old with an outstanding warrant of Aggravated Battery to a Peace Officer. Police reported that they conducted a court-ordered search of the address and found items stolen from the victim along with an extended magazine pistol. The Urbana Police are still trying to locate the third man.


(Washington-jm) – Most row crop producers saw prices drop during September. Gary Crawford reports…



(Urbana-jm) – After concerns were voiced by thousands of retired state workers, Carle Health and Aetna reached a tentative agreement on an Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO contract effective January 1, 2023. Before this agreement, retired state workers would have had to switch away from Carle doctors and facilities under their new health plan starting in January. Finalization of this contract would allow Medicare-eligible state retirees to continue to be seen by Carle providers.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is offering some reminders about hunting ethics. Hunters need to work to maintain a good relationship with the non-hunting public, says DNR Wildlife Chief Mike Wefer . That means not graphically flaunting their kill…



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Chief Mike Wefer. Wefer says hunters should also be careful about photos they post, avoiding pictures that show bloody wounds or disrespect to the animal. He suggests taking pics that demonstrate hunter safety and ethical use of the animal such as cooking their meat.


(Undated-jm) – As Governor J.B. Pritzker comes to the end of his term before the November election, one economic analysis shows how taxes have increased during his time in office. Pritzker was elected in 2018 to be the state's 43rd governor. Since taking office the following January, taxes in Illinois have increased each year. Illinoisans already have among the highest tax burdens in the country. Under Pritzker, more than 20 new tax increases have been implemented, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. IPI numbers show that tax increases, including a gas tax hike totaling $264 per taxpayer, a vehicle registration fee that costs $100, a parking garage tax at $270, and an online sales tax expansion of $46.18, have all been enacted during Pritzker's term. While Pritzker has also implemented some temporary tax cuts, they fall short of the total tax increase of nearly $2,700 per taxpayer during his term.


(Springfield-jm) – Harvest season continues across Illinois as we hear in the weekly crop report. 97 percent of corn is mature and 78 percent of the crop has been harvested. That’s about on par with the average pace. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans and wheat…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The first condition report for winter wheat shows 35 percent of the crop is in good to excellent shape. Above normal rainfall last week raised average statewide topsoil moisture to 13 percent very short, 26 percent short and 61 percent adequate.


(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man was found not guilty of first degree murder. Keith Campbell was arrested in Cook County in May 2021 by U.S. Marshals after being charged with first degree murder following an incident in July 2018. Urbana Police were called to a party on July 21, 2018, near Florida Avenue and Curtiss Drive in Urbana after a fight broke out. Urbana Police found 27-year-old Martez Taylor fatally shot. Detectives said Campbell shot Taylor while he was sitting in a car. Taylor later died at a hospital. A warrant for Campbell’s arrest was approved in July 2018. He was arraigned in Champaign County Court in June 2021. Campbell was found not guilty of all charges by an Urbana jury and was discharged from custody.


(Washington-jm) – Dairy growers have until December 9th to sign-up for Dairy Margin Coverage for this coming year. Rod Bain reports…



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