hospital bed with teddy bear

SPRINGFIELD – Private insurance will now cover specialized care for children living with serious illnesses while allowing the child to seek additional treatments, thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) that was recently signed into law.

“In Illinois, seriously ill children deserve consistency in high quality, child-centered care regardless of where they live and whether they have public or private health insurance,” Fine said. “This law will allow for more families to access this critical care without having to worry whether or not their insurance will cover the treatments.”

Under Fine’s law, patients with private insurance will now be covered for pediatric palliative care. Palliative care is a specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses focused on providing relief from symptoms and improving quality of life with the medical condition. Some forms of this care include expert management of physical and emotional symptoms, as well as patient and family counseling.

Many patients who have access to this type of treatment see less emergency room visits, shorter hospital stays, and experience an improved wellbeing for themselves and their families. Despite these benefits, only 1% of the 2,800 children in Illinois living with chronic illness currently have access to this treatment.  

Sen. Fine is a longtime advocate of increasing accessibility of pediatric palliative care. In 2021, while working with advocates like the Greater Illinois Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition, she sponsored a measure requiring Medicaid to cover pediatric palliative care.

“For children living with serious illness, palliative care is vital in keeping children out of the hospital and decreasing family stress. This results in improved quality of life for the patient and his or her entire family,” Fine said. “This law is crucial to ensure seriously ill children in Illinois and their families have the care and support that they deserve.”

Senate Bill 3819 was signed into law May 13, 2022. It goes into effect January 1, 2023.