State Senator Mike Simmons

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons was proud to support historic health care reform, House Bill 5395, which was signed into law on Wednesday.

“The Healthcare Protection Act will make health care more accessible ­for all residents in our state – a fundamental right I have been fighting for since taking office,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “This law removes barriers for patients and doctors and ensures that insurance plans are comprehensive and effectively cover the best healthcare procedures.”

Strongly supported by Simmons, the Healthcare Protection Act tackles the issue of “ghost networks,” which arise when provider networks include doctors who aren't accepting new patients, don't accept the patient's insurance or have retired. Further, it extends the ban on unjustifiable insurance rate increases to large group plans in Illinois, ensuring access to affordable care.

Additionally, the new law improves health care accessibility and eliminates unnecessary barriers by banning prior authorization for mental health treatment and mandating the public disclosure of treatments requiring prior authorization.

“When someone is in need of care, they shouldn’t have to put off their health because of arbitrary high cost and low coverage,” said Simmons. “This new law will save lives and remove barriers that have led to untreated medical conditions and premature death for far too many of our family members, neighbors and friends.”

The Healthcare Protection Act goes into effect on Jan. 1.