Text Size
Login
config

Pre-existing conditions covered under Illinois legislation

Chest scanSPRINGFIELD – Health insurance companies will still be required to cover pre-existing conditions under new legislation passed by the Illinois Senate.

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed new healthcare legislation, many feared that insurance providers would no longer be required to cover pre-existing conditions.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is House Bill 2959’s chief co-sponsor.

Aurora domestic violence shelter finally gets funding under Senate budget plan

Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – An Aurora domestic violence shelter that has suffered through layoffs and service cuts amid the state’s financial crisis, could finally see stable state funding that could restore vital services to abused women under a plan the Illinois Senate recently approved.

“Mutual Ground and those that they serve have already paid a steep price for inaction and gridlock in Springfield,” said State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat. “The plan that I voted for would fully fund Mutual Ground, giving them the certainty that they need to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Biss, Senate move to protect Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions

pre exist 052917SPRINGFIELD – As Washington sends mixed signals about the future of affordable health care for millions of Americans, the Illinois Senate on Friday voted to bar health insurance companies from denying coverage to Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions.

House Bill 2959 garnered bipartisan support in the Senate’s 46-5 vote. The measure now has been approved in both the Senate and the House; it is expected to be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner for consideration.

“This legislation guarantees that health insurance companies may not discriminate based on pre-existing conditions – something that roughly half of all non-elderly Americans have, according to the federal government,” said Senator Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat and the Senate sponsor of the legislation. Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview) sponsored it in the House.

On May 4, Congress passed the American Health Care Act 217-213, which would allow states to opt out of community ratings in the individual markets. These ratings provide a way of spreading risk by setting rates for health insurance among a geographic area regardless of age, gender or health status.

Under the act, if this restriction is removed, states could vary premiums by health status for people who have had a gap in insurance of 63 or more consecutive days in the past year. The state would be required to set up a program for subsidizing high-risk patients, either through a reinsurance system that would pay money directly to insurers or by setting up a high-risk pool. The state would not be required to provide insurance coverage for these patients.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released findings that the state waivers allowed by the bill pending in Congress could lead to skyrocketing premiums for people with pre-existing conditions, such as an extra $1,000 per month for maternity coverage in states that waive certain coverage regulations for insurers. Additionally, the CBO found that many people with pre-existing conditions simply would be priced out of coverage in states that use the waivers.

“While it’s unclear how all of these changes in Washington will shake out in the end, Illinois has too much at stake to sit idly by and wait to see what will happen,” Biss said.

“House Bill 2959 will help to protect vulnerable Illinoisans who rely on the ACA and are at risk of losing their coverage with no other affordable options available to them. Gov. Rauner should sign this measure into law so that we can provide a crucial protection for many of our constituents all over the state.”

Tom Cullerton works to protect Illinoisans from GPS tracking

tc 052617SPRINGFIELD- As the federal government continues to allow big data to sell your information, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to protect Illinoisans from private entities sharing their location information that can be transmitted by cell phones, tablets and computers.

“Illinois residents deserve to know who has access to their personal information,” Cullerton said. “Geolocation tracking can tell companies where you buy your morning coffee or what bus stops your son or daughter jump on after school. This is private information. You should be able to control who has access to it.”

House Bill 3449 measure known as the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act, would require companies that store or share your precise location data to receive opt-in consent from Illinois residents before selling or sharing it. 

“Illinois residents may opt-in to use the GPS app on their phones or tablets but they should have a say on when their data is being sold,” Cullerton said. “It is simple. The price of using a map on your phone shouldn’t mean you are automatically giving some unknown entity the ability to sell your information.”

Cullerton believes it is a simple task for an app developer to ask consumers if they are privy to access their geolocation information. This is something that can be simply incorporated into the design and function of an application.

Currently Delaware, California and Nevada have similar laws in place.

House Bill 3449 passed the Senate on a 33-22 vote and now moves back to the House for further debate.