CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials are reviewing five bids to build the state's health insurance exchange — a required component of the federal health care overhaul that Gov. Pat Quinn intends to implement regardless of who wins the presidency on Election Day.

By 2014, each state must have a working exchange where people and small businesses can comparison shop online for commercial health plans based on quality and cost. The concept has been described as Travelocity for health insurance, and it's intended to make buying insurance simpler and more affordable.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has expressed support for states setting up their own exchanges, although he's said he would work with Congress to repeal the health care law that he and other Republicans have derided as "Obamacare." That means Illinois and many other states could push ahead with the exchanges if Romney wins, according to Brian Patt of Reston, Va.-based Infosys Public Services, which is one of the five companies bidding on the Illinois contract.

"Fifteen states are in process now, including Illinois, and they represent about half the population of the country because they are the larger states," Patt said.

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