The Racine County Economic Development Corporation announced last week that Grand Appliance and TV is planning to move its corporate headquarters from Zion, Illinois, just north of Waukegan, to Sturtevant, Wisconsin.
The move will cost an estimated $8 million including the building of a new corporate headquarters. The move will bring about 142 jobs to Sturtevant over the next three years, including 120 jobs that the company will be moving from Illinois, and an additional 20 new jobs.
Company President Mark Reckling said, “Southeast Wisconsin provides an ideal location that supports Grand Appliance and TV’s growth plans.”
The company has 20 stores with 300 employees throughout Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. There are five outlets in the Chicago area.
On March 7 the village of Sturtevant will decide if it should contribute $450,000 to Grand Appliance and TV to help fund the project. The money would come through a tax incremental financing district.
The new headquarters will be constructed at the Renaissance Business Park east of Interstate 94. It will be 137,000 square-feet, the majority dedicated to warehousing. The new facility will also include and consolidate two distribution centers Grand Appliance runs already in Sturtevant, as well as the corporate headquarters.
The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has plans to expand the highly in-demand hospital’s capacity with a $51 million infusion of funding. The Streeterville building, in the midst of the Mag Mile, is seriously overcrowded, and can use the extra beds under consideration.
The plan proposes to add 44 beds to the already 92 that serve the intensive-care unit. The hospital would also like to add four more beds to the neonatal intensive-care division to 60 NICU beds that are there now. The total number of beds in this specialty hospital, which treats the area’s most ill children, would rise to 336.
The application Lurie filed last month with state regulators said that the hospital, which partners with many community hospitals, has been fielding an increase in children referred by health care providers is northeast Illinois to the point where they have been forced to refuse transfers.
The hospital wants to add beds at a moment in history when other hospitals are downsizing their pediatric departments, if not eliminating them altogether. Because the Affordable Care Act puts more of an emphasis on prevention, many hospital beds are empty, while there has been a growth in the number of outpatient clinics and same-day surgery facilities.
Lurie hospital says that demand for its services has climbed because of its partnerships with over a dozen community hospitals. If the patients can be kept in those local community hospitals, they are. But if they need more sophisticated or intense care, they are then sent to the downtown hospital.
In 2014 Lurie switched 20 medical-surgical beds, the most common type of hospital bed, to ICU beds. In 2016 Lurie had to turn away 112 requests for patient transports because of lack of beds.
The additional beds will be added by renovating existing hospital space, with completion of the projected expected to be by January 31, 2019.
If Illinois residents can judge from Texas and Oklahoma, they can expect health insurance fees to rise by about 50 percent in the coming months. Chicago-based Health Care Service Corp owns Blue Cross in all three states, and they have requested a 53.7 percent increase in Texas and a 49.2 percent increase in Oklahoma, across its Affordable Care Act plans. It is not a sure thing that these price hikes will be approved, and if the exact numbers are not approved, what kind of rate hikes to expect instead.
Blue Cross is the most popular insurer in Illinois, as it is in Texas and Oklahoma. Mark Spencer, spokesman for HCSC said Illinois’ proposed hikes have not been made public yet. He said it is premature to speculate about the local price hikes since pricing is based on local conditions.
The Illinois Department of Insurance agreed that the rate plans proposed by Blue Cross and other insurers are still under review. It is up to the federal government to publish the new ACA rates, and are planning to do so for Illinois on August 1st, said the spokeswoman for the department, Anjali Julka.
Spencer would not comment on what the company would do if the requested rate hike was not granted. Last year Blue Cross pulled out of the health exchange in New Mexico when the state’s insurance regulators turned down HCSC’s proposal to raise their rates by 51 percent.
Residents of Illinois are seeing the cost of healthcare skyrocket for 2016, with some insurers charging as much, and in some cases even more, that 40 percent above last year.
The Affordable Health Care Act enters its third year with enrollment underway since November 1. The lowest-cost plans in most of Illinois counties saw a 15-20 percent rise this year, according to the Illinois Department of Insurance.
Blue Cross is especially in the dog house with consumers. The state’s largest health care insurance provider raised its premiums by an average of 17.8 percent on individual policies regardless of whether or not they were sold on the exchange.
Other insurers also upped their rates, and some in an even more drastic way than Blue Cross. But since about 80 percent of those enrolled in ACA plans are insured by Blue Cross, they are the company facing the most consumer complaints. According to its rate filing, as many as 329,000 Illinois residents could be effected by the rate hikes.