Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) spoke during a press conference alongside Gov. JB Pritzker after the House passed the Healthcare Protection Act on April 18, 2024.

Insurance Reform: Illinois House passes Healthcare Protection Act

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Illinois House lawmakers passed a massive health insurance reform plan late Thursday night. Sponsors and Gov. JB Pritzker said it will help curb predatory insurance practices and protect consumers.

The Healthcare Protection Act could make Illinois the first state to ban prior authorization for in-patient adult and children’s mental healthcare. This plan would also ban step therapy, or the fail first method, where insurers force people to receive less effective drug treatments before moving to options initially recommended by doctors.

“For far too long, insurance companies and not doctors have been free to determine what treatment options patients should have and how quickly they can receive it,” Pritzker said. “With this bill, we’re putting power back in the hands of doctors and patients.”

Short-term limited duration plans, or junk insurance, that fail to cover basic treatments like maternal healthcare and pre-existing conditions would also be banned under the legislation.

“House Bill 5395 requires prior approval from the Department of Insurance before large group plans can increase rates and require premiums to align with the actual cost of providing care,” said Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin).