Thursday, February 09, 2017 11:13 AM
SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D- Aurora, introduced a bill to protect health insurance plan participants from drastic and often disruptive changes to coverage networks. Joined by the president of the Illinois State Medical Society and the measure’s House sponsors, Sen. Holmes discussed the legislation at a press conference on Wednesday.
The legislation seeks to fix narrow provider networks by keeping standards for access so that participants will not have to travel long distances for medical care, keeping network directories up to date and notifying patients of network changes and allowing people with serious health needs to stay with their provider.
“This legislation will require notifying patients when their health insurance plan drastically changes, which is important so consumers can make adjustments in getting the health care coverage they need,” Holmes said.
The legislation, Senate Bill 70, has been titled the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act. It has received broad support from Republicans and Democrats as well as the American Cancer Society, the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, the Illinois State Medical Society and many other organizations.
“This legislation is needed because people think they are playing by the rules when purchasing health insurance, but are often in for a surprise when they try to go to a doctor,” said Illinois State Medical Society President Thomas M. Anderson, MD. “Patients may have done their homework and checked that their doctor is in-network, only to show up to their appointment and find out the insurance company website was out-of-date and they won’t get the coverage they were promised.”