Monday, March 31, 2014

Done deal: Wiggins expected to declare for NBA today /

<Best Offerp>Kansas University freshman basketball guard Andrew Wiggins will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. today, at which he will announce his intentions to enter the 2014 NBA Draft.

KU freshman Joel Embiid, who like Wiggins is expected to be taken in the top three of the draft, will not be part of this news conference.

Wiggins has long acknowledged he's a one-and-done college player. Nothing has changed entering this news conference, sources said Sunday night.

The 6-foot-8 guard from Ontario, Canada, addressed his emotions after his last home game as a Jayhawk, KU's 82-57 Senior Night victory over Texas Tech,

"I am happy, yet sad it is my last game," Wiggins said after scoring nine points with four boards in 23 minutes. "I'm thankful for everything. I've been blessed with a good team, great coaches and the best fans anyone could ever ask for."

Wiggins, who averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds for the 25-10 Jayhawks, recently rated his one-and-done season a "10" on a scale of 1-10.

"It did," he said of his year in Lawrence exceeding his expectations. "(There's) nothing like college, sharing moments with your brothers you'll never experience again."

Wiggins never wavered in his decision to play college basketball one season only.

"I would say just being able to enjoy my last year of school," Wiggins said in November to ESPN when asked what he was most looking forward to during the 2013-14 school year.

Wiggins is listed as No. 1 pick in the 2014 Draft by Embiid is listed as No. 2.

"To reach his full potential, NBA teams will want to see Wiggins become more aggressive with the way he approaches the game. He has somewhat of a laid-back demeanor on the floor, which can be seen in the way he finishes around the basket at times, his tendency for shying away from contact, and his propensity for settling for long jumpers. He looks reluctant at times to just explode down the lane and dunk on people, which his physical tools suggest he should be able to much more frequently than he does. Part of that might have to do with his youth, lack of experience and strength," wrote Mike Schmitz of

"To his credit, Wiggins only recently turned 19 years old, and is obviously nowhere near a finished product. His tremendous scoring instincts and defensive prowess give him outstanding two-way potential, and that, coupled with his incredibly rare physical tools, makes it very easy to see why he's such a coveted prospect."

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Toledo-area Krogers to end coupon doubling

Published: Saturday, 3/29/2014

Chain says it's cutting prices on 2,000 items

Next Tuesday, Toledo-area Kroger customers will see lower prices on thousands of items the supermarket chain sells.

But as a consequence of the price reductions, the retailer said it will end its practice of doubling Printable Coupons values effective May 1.

The Kroger Co.'s Columbus division, which includes the Toledo area, on Friday said it is cutting prices on 2,000 of the most commonly purchased items in its stores.

The changes apply to all 123 stores in the Columbus division, which covers most of northern Ohio and includes 17 Toledo-area Krogers plus the recently renovated store in Lambertville.

The Lambertville store is the only Michigan store in the division.

Other Kroger stores in Michigan are part of the chain's Michigan division and still will provide double coupon values.

"When people shop with us they want the best value for their grocery dollar," said Jackie Siekmann, a spokesman for Kroger's Columbus division.

The changes "were something that our team researched," she added.

The price cuts range from a few cents in some cases to a few dollars in others.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, which is the dominant supermarket chain in the Toledo area, said it began its price reduction initiative March 3.

A typical Kroger store carries nearly 40,000 different stock keeping units. Ms. Siekmann said Kroger used customer surveys and data from its loyalty card program to choose which items to reduce in price.

The 2,000 items it chose are those most frequently found in the average customer's shopping cart, she said.

"We did it by listening and looking at shopping habits through the loyalty card data to see which items were the most meaningful to customers. So, for example, we noticed that whole wheat pasta was on the rise. So we lowered the price on that," Ms. Siekmann said.

Ronzoni whole wheat pasta, which was $1.99 a box has been reduced to $1.39, she said.

Other price reductions include Lunch Box Apples at 33 cents each from a previous 50 cents each; Roma tomatoes at 99 cents a pound from $1.29 a pound; an 18-ounce package of Oreo cookies at $2.99 from $3.19; a 28-ounce jar of Kroger brand peanut butter at $2.99 from $3.29, and 17.6-pound package of Kibbles 'n Bits dog food at $10.99 from $12.89.

The price cuts include a significant number of produce, natural food, and organic food items, categories where Kroger said it has seen a dramatic rise in sales in the last few years.

Sales of natural foods, for example, have more than doubled in the last four years, Kroger said.

"Our natural foods department is the fastest growing in our stores and that's a trend that is happening across the country [at Kroger stores]," Ms. Siekmann said. "It began on the West Coast, but now it's hit the Midwest and we are recognizing that trend."

To help offset the cost of its price-cutting initiative, Kroger said it made the decision to quit doubling coupons. Ms. Siekmann said eliminating double coupons "is an industry trend. It's not necessarily a Kroger trend."

Kroger's policy was to double manufacturers' coupons with a face value up to 50 cents. Last year, Kroger's southern Ohio division, which includes Cincinnati and Dayton, eliminated double coupons. Kroger's chief competitor in the Toledo area, Meijer stores, also did away with double coupons last year.

Giant Eagle continues to double coupon values, but the Pittsburgh-based chain announced last Friday that it would close its two Toledo-area stores by May 3.

Kroger said its research shows that less than 2 percent of its customers are "heavy coupon users" and 86 percent do not use double coupons at all.

The retailer said it will continue to redeem manufacturer's coupons, valid printed coupons, and electronic coupons at their face value.

Grocery industry analyst David Livingston, of DLJ Research in Milwaukee, said Kroger's move is not unexpected because more customers prefer lower prices to coupons.

"There's been a reduction in SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits nationwide and a lot of consumers are becoming more price-conscious and grocers are becoming more competitive on price with competition like Walmart," Mr. Livingston said.

"As a result, there is more emphasis on price rather than discounting with coupons," he added.

Jill Cataldo, a nationally known coupon expert who writes a syndicated column that runs in The Blade, said double coupons are an endangered species.

"I think doubles' days are numbered everywhere in the country," said Ms. Cataldo, who resides in the Chicago area. "It's a very regional thing and even in the markets that have had it forever, like the South, they're starting to pull out," she said.

Ms. Cataldo said grocery stores pay for the coupon discount.

"The store is paying for it and their profit margins are already razor-thin, so if there is no reason to do it, they won't. ... If a competitor is doing it, a store will do it. But if they don't have to, they won't," she said.

Contact Jon Chavez at: or 419-724-6128.

Friday, March 28, 2014

"The Last of Us:" From Accolades to Movie Deals

Technology &Gaming

Although gamers saw plenty of amazing game releases in 2013, including "GTA V" and "Bioshock Infinite," Naughty Dog's apocalyptic epic "The Last of Us" was by far one of the most successful. Critically acclaimed for its heart-rending storyline, engaging characters, memorable scenes, and thought-provoking ending, "The Last of Us" has won a record number of awards, garnered interest in a sequel, and even landed a movie deal.

"The Last of Us" was released on June 14, 2013 amid rave reviews. Most video game review websites and magazines gave it full scores, and anticipation ran high.

It sold 1.4 million copies in its first week, and 3.4 million within three weeks. This made it the fastest selling PS3 game ever at the time. As of March 14, it has sold over 6 million copies, according to GameInformer.

When it comes to awards, "The Last of Us" cleaned up like none other. It won ten out of the thirteen categories it was nominated for on IGN, including best overall game. The IGN staff praised the game's accomplishments while they defended their choice.

"'The Last of Us' may very well be a once-in-a-generation sort of experience," said Colin Moriarty, IGN senior editor.

"Few experiences in life have touched me the way 'The Last of Us' did," said Greg Miller, IGN executive editor.

"'The Last of Us' was one of the most thought-provoking and emotionally fulfilling experiences I played all year," said Tal Blevins, editorial director at IGN.

"The Last of Us" also took home five awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Awards. It won Best Game, Best Action/Adventure Game, Best Story, Best Audio Achievement and Best Performer for Ashley Johnson, the voice of the character Ellie.

The bar at the event even created a cocktail in its honor, made with ingredients they considered likely to be left behind after an apocalypse, and served in a metal can.

According to Gotyblog, a website that tracks and tallies Game of the Year awards from various organizations, "The Last of Us" won 246 individual Game of the Year awards. This is a record setting number, surpassing "Red Dead Redemption's" 2010 score of 211. Other games that have won this distinction in the past decade include "Bioshock," "Fallout 3" and "Half Life 2."

Not to diminish Naughty Dog's accomplishments, but it is interesting to note that ten years ago, when "Half Life 2" earned the most awards, Gotyblog only registered a total of 55 valid Game of the Year Competitions. They have a strict set of guidelines pertaining to what they will recognize, including the professionalism of an organization. This year there were a total 525 recognized competitions.

This is interesting on a couple of levels. First, it shows that gaming has become such a massive industry in the past ten years that the number of organizations that review the products has increased tenfold.

Secondly, it shows that a large number of respectable, traditional organizations are coming to recognize video games as a valid medium of artistic expression. Names that show up on the 2013 list of GOTY awards that did not show up ten years ago include The New Yorker, CNN, The Guardian, Forbes and BAFTA.

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about a potential sequel for "The Last of Us." Naughty Dog has admitted that they are considering the possibility, and examining potential storylines. However, they have made it clear that storytelling will take precedence over profit, and a sequel will not be made for the sole purpose of capitalizing on the successes of the first.

Neil Druckmann, creative director for "The Last of Us," responded to a reddit 50/50 AMA (Ask Me Anything) question saying "If you're asking about a sequel ... right now I'd say it's 50/50." But even though he wasn't committing to a sequel, he did tease some other big news. "I miss them [Joel and Ellie] dearly. I'd love to see them again-maybe in a different medium? We'll see."

Sure enough, a couple of weeks ago, it was announced that Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures and Screen Gems are going to be co-producing a movie based on "The Last of Us." Druckmann, who is also writing the script, announced at the BAFTA awards that the plot of the movie will follow that of the game.

This will not be the first time Screen Gems oversaw a video game to movie transition. Screen Gems is also responsible for the movie adaptations of the Resident Evil series.

Naughty Dog Co-President, Evan Wells, said that since the game came out, they have been approached by numerous studios who wanted to make a film out of the game. But after Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper spoke to Wells and Druckmann, Wells called the partnership between Ghost House and Screen Gems a "perfect fit"

Despite the relatively recent announcement, discussions have sprung up all over the internet about the question of who would be cast in the lead roles.

The fact that Ellen Page is more than ten years too old to play Ellie has been widely lamented, although Chloe Grace Moretz, the foul-mouthed super-girl from "Kick-Ass," is a popular suggestion. Options for Joel range from Josh Brolin to Viggo Mortensen to Liam Neeson.

With the possibility of a sequel and certainty of a movie adaptation, fans of the universally acclaimed "The Last of Us" still have a lot to look forward to.

By David Thornton

Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Manchester City offer Arsenal's Bacary Sagna three-year deal

Bacary Sagna has been offered a three-year Coupon by Manchester City and he will consider whether to become the latest Arsenal player to move between the clubs in the summer. The 31-year-old full-back remains locked in contractual stand-off with Arsenal, his club since 2007 and his current terms are set to expire in June, making him a free agent.

Arsène Wenger, the manager, has indicated a readiness to break the club's general policy of granting only one-year extensions to players in their thirties and he is extremely keen for Sagna to stay. The France international has proved his worth on many occasions this season.

The offer of two more years at the Emirates Stadium is there for Sagna but he is holding out for three and he knows that City will give him what he wants, not to mention a significant increase on his £50,000-a-week salary.

The path from Arsenal to City is well trodden, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy each making the move between 2009-2011. Other former Arsenal players are employed or have been employed by City, namely Patrick Vieira, Brian Kidd, Brian Marwood, David Platt and Stuart Taylor while Wenger remembers how Yaya Toure, the City midfielder, played for Arsenal in a pre-season game in 2003. His performance against Barnet, Wenger has said, was "completely average."

Sagna is embroiled in a game of brinkmanship with Arsenal and he has not ruled out staying if the club were to give him the length of contract that he wants. He is in a strong position, with interest from elsewhere in his services. Liverpool and even Tottenham Hotspur would take him on a Bosman transfer (although the latter is a non-starter on Sagna's side) while Inter Milan, Paris St-Germain and Monaco are also keen.

The Inter president Erick Thohir told his club's official website on Wednesday about his wish to sign Sagna. "We're interested in Sagna because we need to balance the team," Thohir said. "Right now, we only have [Yuto] Nagatomo and Jonathan. If one of them gets injured, you need somebody else to come in. But it Sagna decided to stay in England, we'd understand and in that case, we might bring in a young player from our academy."

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Unwarranted Conglomerate Discount And Potential For Significant Value Extraction At Nortek

  • Nortek is undervalued based on a sum of the parts analysis due to the conglomerate structure and relatively little analyst following for a stock of its size.
  • Higher projected top-line growth along with ongoing efficiency initiatives should drive significant gains in EBITDA, currently depressed by restructuring charges and colder than normal weather.
  • The tech and display mount solutions segments are a source of hidden and potentially significant value, especially the former given the interest in home automation.
Company overview

Nortek ( NTK) is a conglomerate focusing primarily on the remodeling and replacement (R&R), residential/commercial new construction and personal/enterprise computer markets. Below are the five operating segments:

The residential ventilation (RESV) segment manufactures room and whole-house ventilation products such as range hoods and exhaust fans.

The technology solutions ( TECH) segment manufactures residential security/access control systems, home automation solutions and professional video signal management solutions.

The display mount solutions (DMS) segment manufactures wall/desk mounts, carts, arms, workstations and stands.

The residential heating and cooling (RHC) segment manufactures air conditioners, heat pumps, air handlers and furnaces.

The custom and engineered solutions (CES) segment manufactures HVAC products used in non-residential applications such as data centers.

Industry tailwinds + internal growth and efficiency initiatives = Better than implied results

The conglomerate Deal News is magnified as the market is ignoring the consistent top line growth and focusing instead on the recent modest decline in the EBITDA margin shown in the chart below.

Even though cash flow is temporarily depressed due to elevated spending as a result of the ongoing restructuring, NTK still managed to generate a 7.8% FCF yield despite an 82% increase in capex.

As these restructuring charges gradually dissipate over the next two years, the high operating leverage and accelerating top line should drive significant EBITDA growth on a dollar and margin basis due to the following four factors.

First, NTK is positioned to benefit from the strong industry tailwinds with its broad product offerings and leading market position in many of its markets, which was largely responsible for the broad-based growth in the mrq. Moreover, R&R and construction activity should resume as spring approaches and the words "polar vortex" become a distant memory.

Second, the inter/intra segment diversity provides greater overall revenue stability. For example, the RESV and RHC segments (dependent on residential construction and R&R) are offset to some extent by the CES segment, which focuses primarily on the non-residential market projected to grow at 2x GDP. Within the DMS segment, lower demand for flat-panel TVs and PCs is being offset by tablet products, sit-stand workstations and stronger demand from the fast-growing telemedicine area with the Ergotron StyleView Telepresence carts.

Third, NTK can leverage its leading market share and multiple distribution channels to introduce new products to more customers with higher profit margins (e.g. exiting lower margin range hood and display mount products).

For example, the RESV segment is winning new business in the large and growing Chinese market with six new product families aimed at improving indoor air quality while the CES segment has one of its highest backlogs ever due to the growing demand for its data-center offerings that increase energy efficiency and reduce total cost of ownership. While the sales cycle is longer compared to the other segments, this is more than offset by the higher margin revenue stream. Overall NTK is just beginning to leverage the significant cross-selling opportunities, which should drive incremental growth (especially internationally).

Fourth, currently NTK is mostly experiencing only the costs rather than the benefits of initiatives to rationalize sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and logistics operations. For example, NTK reduced its warehouse and distribution footprint by ~40%, reduced the number of suppliers providing greater pricing power (e.g. reduced the number of hardware and fastener suppliers from 150 to 6), reduced the number of operations in the TECH segment by six and consolidated a portion of its manufacturing capacity into lower cost locations such as Mexico. The net result of these initiatives is annual cost savings of ~$15-20 million this year and ~$45-55 million going forward.

How the high debt can be a catalyst

The high debt load is only a negative when viewed in isolation and without considering the following three mitigating factors. First, NTK has excess capacity of ~$249 million given the low level of borrowing under its ABL facility. Second, there is little interest rate risk as ~92% of long-term debt is at fixed interest rates with no significant near-term maturities (closest is 2017). Third, the current level of EBITDA (even assuming no growth) is more than sufficient to service the debt as the leverage ratio has decreased from 6.2x in 2010 to 4.2x currently.

Management is aware of the need to continue to de-lever and mentioned on the most recent conference call (PDF alert) the possibility of refinancing in December, which should not be difficult given the constructive relationship with its lenders. For example, an amendment to its ABL facility in June 2012 resulted in a maturity extension to 2017, a lower interest rate and less restrictive covenants.

This refinancing would provide two key benefits in addition to the obvious meaningful interest savings. First, NTK should take advantage of the extremely favorable cov-lite financing conditions so it could sell assets and use the proceeds for shareholder-friendly measures such as a buyback or special dividend (see below). This would be difficult (at best) currently given that the term loan facility requires directing 100% of the proceeds of asset sales to debt repayment.

Second, this may be the catalyst for a ratings upgrade from Moody's, which appears to be behind the curve (what a surprise) in recognizing the previously mentioned significant financial and operational improvements. This could be a near-term event as management said it expects to meet with them by the end of March or early April

Leaving the nest: The case for selling the TECH segment

The January 2013 acquisition of Nest by Google resulted in investors looking for the "next Nest" and drove a 41% and 58% increase in Echelon and Control4, respectively. However, NTK received no such benefit given that its TECH segment is hidden in a larger corporate structure. The low amount of analyst coverage (for a $1 billion + market cap stock) further "suppresses" the story, especially the increasing contribution of security/home automation, which now accounts for ~66% of the business from 54% in 2011.

Given the increased interest in the industry, the February 2013 acquisition of 2GIG Technologies (a designer of residential security/home automation systems) for only 6.8x EBITDA appears cheaper by the day. Unfortunately for NTK, the significant consumer, investor and media interest in Nest products (which is deserved) is not extending to the similar 2GIG offerings (e.g. Go!Control touch-screen panel and all-in-one home security/automation solution). Moreover, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts given the engineering/supply chain synergies and cross-selling opportunities.

The large size of the domestic market and the fact that less than 2% of consumers use systems to remotely monitor or control home smoke/fire alarms, air-conditioning settings or doors provides the potential for significant and sustainable growth.

However, the optimal time to sell may not be when revenue is closer to the peak for two reasons. First, valuations are already attractive (for sellers) given that Google paid 10.7x revenue for Nest. Even assuming only a 2x multiple for the TECH segment, this would generate proceeds of ~$1 billion, which is almost as much as the current market cap.

Second, selling now for a high multiple is more attractive than holding out for a larger multiple years later. For example, for every time this strategy worked out (e.g. Facebook), there are probably 10x as many where it did not.

The list of potential acquirers is larger than just companies named Google. For example, this segment would be attractive to cable/satellite/telecom companies looking to strengthen their home security offerings.


Given the conglomerate structure, a sum of the parts analysis better highlights the undervaluation. While there is inherent subjectivity in choosing a peer group and respective segment multiples, the primary focus should be on the fact that NTK is undervalued, especially as this assumes no takeover premiums, no EBITDA growth and no cost savings.

Although NEST is clearly the single-greatest value extraction opportunity, the DMS segment is a close second with its well-known Ergotron brand, which is also effectively hidden from investors. For example, although the annual revenue is only about half of the TECH segment, this is more than offset by the >2x higher EBITDA margin. A natural acquirer would be Pritzker Group Private Capital given that it acquired Milestone AV Technologies in December 2013 and would be able to generate significant operational synergies.

The purpose of calling for these asset sales is not due to mismanagement or poor execution - in fact the opposite. Management and the board have done (and continue to do) an excellent job in positioning the company for higher and more profitable growth. However, the market does not seem to care.

There is one caveat: Ares Management owns ~39%, which effectively eliminates the possibility of any activist involvement. Any divestment strategy would require their explicit approval, although given the potential gains they should at a minimum be willing to listen to new ideas.


The following are the primary risks to the investment thesis, in order of importance:

  • NTK is largely levered to cyclical and seasonal R&R/new construction activity with ~65-69% of overall revenue related to the residential housing market.
  • There is a high amount of debt although this risk is mitigated by the previously mentioned factors.
  • Rising raw material prices (e.g. steel, copper, aluminum, plastic) would reduce gross margins.

The target price is based on a 10x multiple, which is more than supported by the higher aggregate peer multiple and potential for value extraction.

A tight stop loss should be placed below the 50 DMA slightly below the current price. The time frame is 12-24 months.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Liquor sales on the rise as Oregon drinkers pick higher-end booze (video)

Liquor sales in Oregon continue their upward trend, according to the latest statistics from the state.

In the month of January, sales rose 6.2 percent, or about $2.2 million more than January 2013, according to a Thursday news release from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

But the news comes with a twist. Volume sales were up 3.6 percent, which means consumers are not only drinking more, they're buying more expensive booze.

It's "a sign of Oregon's general economic recovery," said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks, in the release.

John Popp, manager of 10 th Avenue Liquor, says he's noticed the change.

"We have a good scotch selection, and bourbon," Popp said. "Some of the people are going up in price Deal Today those."

Among the brands coming into vogue: Buffalo Trace and Maker's Mark.

Popp said the trend is timely. Oregon grocers are gearing up for a ballot initiative that would ask voters to privatize liquor sales, taking the market out of the hands of the state and allowing stores over 10,000 square feet to stock liquor on their shelves.

Earlier this week, Fred Meyer contributed $500,000 to Oregonians for Competition, the group that is behind the initiative. The proposed measure has not yet been approved for signature gathering.

"If privatization goes through, the prices are going to go up," Popp said. "There's a lot of stuff that's not going to be available in grocery stores. That's what we're trying to provide."

Oregon drinkers were in a buying mood in January. The OLCC reports $37.5 million in sales to individuals and bars and restaurants compared with $35.3 million in January 2013. For the full calendar year, sales for 2013 were 4.9 percent higher than sales for 2012, said OLCC spokeswoman Christie Scott.

Profits from state liquor sales go into the state's general fund and to cities and counties for law enforcement, schools and addiction programs.

-- Harry Esteve

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Defensive Driving Insurance Discount Quotes Now Generated for Drivers Through Automotive Website

Louisville, KY (PRWEB) March 09, 2014

Driving classes are one way that some adults are using to become aware of motor vehicle laws changes and how to better prepare for cautious driving in the U.S. The Auto Pros company is now generating defensive driving insurance Best Buy quotes through its search tool at

All quotes that are offered are available for a person who has completed a defensive course and can provide proof upon policy purchase. The quotations that are delivered are dependent on each provider inside of the national quotes tool available.

"A driver who is better prepared to face challenges while driving could be rewarded by some insurance agencies in the form of coverage discounts," an Auto Pros company source said.

Part of the discounts that are now offered through the Internet quotes system pertain to good driver discount programs offered by U.S. insurers. The remaining section of policy incentives that exist in the search system are for average drivers quoting basic plans for coverage.

"The tools that we're giving access to are providing one additional resource for drivers to find applicable discounts that agencies are generating for insurance policies," said the source.

The Auto Pros company is one of the national sources that have opened up a resource for the public to use while locating auto industry price information through the Internet. The insurer details that are provided are now positioned with the auto warranty rates tool that is active at


The company is an American resource to locate insurance company discounts in a single location on the Internet. This company has programmed a series of easy to use research programs for the public online. The company continues to include new partners in the quotation tools each year to expand the independent research options for consumers. This company is now a resource for locating auto parts components pricing and costs for warranty programs that national agencies underwrite for car owners within the U.S.

Monday, March 3, 2014

RV to tour state to promote Get Covered Illinois

CHICAGO - With a six-month enrollment period ending at the end of March, the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace has planned a month of Coupon activities and Gov. Pat Quinn has issued a proclamation to support the push to sign up the uninsured.

The public relations push is designed to call attention to the March 31 deadline for private insurance coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law. After that date, most people without insurance are subject to federal tax penalties.

"As we get down to the wire for enrollment, it is critical that we reach uninsured residents and motivate them to take action to get covered before the March 31 deadline," said Jennifer Koehler, executive director for Get Covered Illinois, in a news release.

The enrollment push has the theme "Road 2 Coverage" and will feature an RV touring the state, starting with an event Saturday at Juarez Community Academy in Chicago. The RV is designed as a moving billboard for Get Covered Illinois, making stops in communities with high numbers of uninsured residents. During March, the RV will be in the Chicago area, Marion, East St. Louis, Rockford and several other cities.

Quinn on Saturday declared March 1-8 "Get Covered Illinois Week" in a proclamation citing his administration's commitment "to improving the health and well-being of the people of Illinois."

Nationally, about 4 million people have signed up for health insurance through federal or state marketplaces set up under Obama's health care law. More than 88,000 Illinois residents signed up for private health insurance during the first four months of the nation's new insurance marketplace system.

Technical glitches and software meltdowns on the federal marketplace deterred many people from signing up after enrollments under the federal Affordable Care Act began in October, but Illinois enrollment has turned around and is nearing the original target set by the Obama administration.

Consumers who want to shop for insurance and see if they qualify for tax credits can visit the Illinois marketplace at Enrollment counselors throughout the state are providing help and can be found on the website by entering a ZIP code.



Sunday, March 2, 2014


<Deal Todayh2>Cover

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