Insurance

  • Report: Car insurance companies charging minorities higher rates

    Car insuranceCollins: “This is a pattern of discrimination all too familiar to people of color.”

    SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Jacqueline Collins expressed disappointment at news that a major insurer has been charging minority clients more for car insurance, and also called for a renewed push for car insurance rate regulations Wednesday.

    “This is a pattern of discrimination all too familiar to people of color at every level of modern life,” said Collins, D-Chicago. “I commend the journalists who looked into this issue. Their work verifies what many suspect: That the playing field is not level.”

  • Senator Holmes works to help patients navigate health insurance

    Holmes SB70 020817SPRINGFIELD – 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.

  • Link fights to provide medically necessary coverage to Illinoisans with MS

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents with multiple sclerosis could receive easier access to medically necessary physical therapy without the fear of burdensome limits or calendar year maximums.

    “People struggling with multiple sclerosis need access to physical therapy to delay or prevent future problems,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said.

  • 3D mammography to be covered by insurance

    3dmam insuranceSPRINGFIELD – Last year the General Assembly passed a measure that would add 3D mammography to the list of low-dose mammograms covered by insurance agencies. In an effort to correct issues with that proposal, Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) has sponsored a new piece of legislation.

    “When we worked on the previous measure, I told the insurance companies ‘Get on board or I’m coming back,’” Mulroe continued. “This is too important to drag our feet on.”

    Under the previous measure, insurance companies were required to cover 3D mammography but only Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield covered the screening. Other insurance companies followed suit, but not quickly enough.

    Previous technologies only took a single dimension view of breast tissue when screening for cancerous cells. Tomosynthesis, also known as a 3D mammogram, takes a multidimensional view of the breast during the screening. As a result, a 3D mammogram has a higher success rate of detecting cancerous cells that are often difficult to detect, due to either size or dense breast tissue.

    Senate Bill 466 amends the insurance code by adding tomosynthesis to the list of definitions of low-dose mammograms. As a result, the insurance mandate will cover 3D mammograms as well as the traditional 2D mammograms.

    “I strongly believe that this legislation will help save lives of at-risk women who may not have known about this technology or may not have been previously covered,” Mulroe said. “It is our duty to protect the health and well-being of people in this state, and if we can save them time, money and emotional hardship then that is a bonus.”

    After the legislation’s success in the Senate and House, it now moves to the governor’s desk.

  • Collins’ plan would ban car insurance from looking at credit scores

    Collins' plan would ban car insurance from looking at credit scoresYour credit score determines a lot more than whether you qualify for a loan. What many consumers don’t know is that it plays a major role in determining how much you pay for car insurance.

    Consumer Reports published a study of insurance rates in its September 2015 issue, and its research shows that in many cases, a driver’s credit score is an even more important factor than his or her driving record. Unbelievably, in Illinois, a person with a clean driving record but poor credit pays, on average, 51 percent more for car insurance than a person with a DUI conviction but excellent credit.

  • Senator Collins on auto insurance legislation

    Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) discusses SB2208 which states that auto insurers cannot base customer's premiums on that person's credit score.


  • Senator Holmes speaks about insurance

    Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) speaks at a recent press conference about HB6562, which would streamline the insurance industry and create greater transparency for consumers.


  • Collins’ plan would ban car insurance from looking at credit scores

    Credit-based pricing perpetuates racial inequalities and the cycle of debt

    Collins’ plan would ban car insurance from looking at credit scoresSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) has introduced legislation to ban auto insurance companies in Illinois from basing their prices on a customer’s credit score. The Senate Insurance Committee heard from advocates yesterday about the role this practice plays in exacerbating existing racial and socioeconomic inequalities and helping fuel the self-perpetuating cycle of poor credit.

    “It’s absurd and unacceptable that in Illinois today, a person with poor credit but a perfect driving record pays, on average, substantially more for car insurance than a person with great credit and a drunken driving conviction,” Collins said. “That certainly doesn’t make our roads safer or create incentives for responsible driving, and it makes it even harder for people who are in debt to drive to work so they can get out of debt.”

    Consumer Reports magazine and the Consumer Federation of America extensively researched the relationship between credit scores and auto insurance rates and found the following:

    • Nationally, people with low credit scores are charged car insurance premiums that are substantially higher – in some cases more than twice as expensive – than people with high credit scores, even when other factors such as age, gender, zip code and driving record are identical.
    • In Illinois, a person with poor credit and no record of traffic violations pays on average 51 percent more per year for car insurance than a person with excellent credit who has been convicted of a DUI.
    • Twenty percent of Illinois residents have credit scores considered non-prime (less than 620), but in zip codes with predominantly African-American populations, that percentage rises to 54 percent, and in predominantly Latino zip codes, it’s 30 percent; thus, credit-based insurance pricing disproportionately affects drivers in minority communities.
    • Twenty percent of surveyed credit reports contained errors that negatively affected scores (this result was duplicated in a Federal Trade Commission study).
    • More than half of overdue debt on credit reports is medical debt.

    “For many Illinoisans, auto insurance is not an optional purchase; it is what allows them to get to work so they can earn income and get out of debt,” Collins said. “A credit score is a predictor – and an imperfect one at that – of a person’s ability to repay a debt; it was never designed to predict driving behavior. The same communities of color hit hard by redlining, subprime mortgages, the recession and the housing crisis are still needlessly paying more for a basic product their residents need in order to rebound.”

    California, Massachusetts and Hawaii already prohibit credit-based auto insurance pricing.