Updates on healthcare reform in Illinois

June 19, 2018

With the rapidly moving events in healthcare, we wanted to update you on news about pre-existing conditions, changes at HFS, an important mental health parity bill, and a few other things.
  Half of Illinoisans have pre-existing conditions
The Center for American Progress has released an analysis indicating that one of every two non-elderly Americans has a preexisting condition. Here is the Illinois portion of the data:

CAP assembled the information in response to the Trump Administration's refusal to defend the ACA in a suit brought by Republican states in Texas challenging ACA protections for pre-existing conditions. Analysts see potential for higher-cost insurance for sicker individuals as well as possible changes for those on employer-based plans.

  Leadership change at HFS
Last Friday, Teresa Hursey - up till now the head of the Division of Medical Programs and Illinois' chief Medicaid officer - was named interim director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Hursey played a key role in getting the Illinois' 1115 behavior health waiver written and approved. She takes over for Felicia Norwood, who leaves the state for a position at Anthem, where she will lead the company's Medicaid and Medicare initiatives. Norwood came to HFS after 20 years as an Aetna executive. A press released stated that a permanent director would be named this month.

 Legislative updates 
Correction: "HB 5464" passed - as SB 682!  We incorrectly reported that HB 5464, was temporarily stalled awaiting review of a fiscal note. Rep. Sara Feigenholtz's office informed us that the Senate version of the bill, SB 682 (sponsor: John Mulroe) passed both houses. The bill, developed with the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, is now called the Emergency Opioid and Addiction Treatment Access Act. It allows for immediate access to Illinois treatment providers by removing the requirement for prior authorization. Track SB 682

HB 2624 sign-on letter to Gov. Rauner  EverThrive Illinois is leading a call for strong organizational support urging the governor to sign t he Short-Term Limited Duration Health Insurance Coverage Act. The bill requires such plans, which undermine ACA protections, to be regulated by the Department of Insurance and limits their duration to six months (raised from three to seek broader support). The deadline for joining this organizational support is end of day this Friday, June 22. Sign here

 Connect people with healthcare
DOI mental health and substance use outreach  The Illinois Department of Insurance is working to organize a series of consumer-facing events around the state this summer on understanding parity, how to connect insurance coverage to these benefits, and how to seek relief if your rights are violated. If your group is interested in holding an event, or would like to include mental health parity consumer education in a local health fair or other event, contact Carol West ( carol.west@illinois.gov). DOI has also provided this video.

New website to help consumers  Understanding how to access and use healthcare benefits can be confusing.  GetCareIllinois.org, a project of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, helps consumers get the coverage they need and use the benefits they have to stay healthy. Available in English and Spanish.

John Jansa
Smart Policy Works

Please forward this newsletter to friends or colleagues who are interested in how the ACA and other developments are impacting health care in Illinois with. If you have questions or suggestions, email us at info@illinoishealthmatters.org .
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