032323KP0689SPRINGFIELD – To expand coverage for preventative screenings for liver disease, State Senator Mike Simmons advanced legislation out of the Senate on Thursday. 

“Liver disease is a silent killer. Often there are no symptoms for years until the disease is very advanced, so early detection can be vital in ensuring people with liver damage get referral to specialty care and treatments that can improve long-term health outcomes and save lives,” said Simmons (D- Chicago). 

Senate Bill 1282 requires Medicaid, private insurance plans and government employee insurance plans to cover preventative screenings for liver disease for individuals who are at high risk for liver disease, ages 35-65 years old. Those screenings can include high quality preventative screenings such as liver ultrasounds, liver function tests, and other screenings that can help with early detection and management of liver disease.

According to the CDC, in 2021, 56,585 adults in the U.S. died from liver disease, making it the ninth leading cause of death.

“Our goal is to improve health outcomes for people who are both underinsured and at-risk for liver disease, especially those who struggle with substance abuse and addiction,” said Simmons. “Those who are both underinsured and at-risk for liver disease need to know what is going on with their bodies. The cost of any screening should never be a reason to forgo care. Liver disease is a leading cause of death; this bill will prevent avoidable and premature deaths by providing equitable preventive health care.”

Senate Bill 1282 passed the Senate on Thursday and now heads to the House.