At a bill signing in Chicago today, Governor JB Pritzker signed into law legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Tony McCombie which aims to make Illinois a national leader in telehealth services and coverage.
House Bill 3308 was signed into law on July 22 and is aimed at increasing access to telehealth services in communities throughout Illinois. The legislation permanently extends payment parity requirements for mental health and substance abuse disorder services, while authorizing all other telehealth services be covered through 2027.
“The pandemic may have compounded the need for expanded telehelth services, but rural communities stand to benefit for years to come by extending some of the coverages and innovations needed to bring telehalth services to communities throughout Illinois,” said McCombie, who is a member of House Insurance Committee, which the bill first passed through before being voted on by the full House and eventually being sent to the Governor.
The legislation prevents insurance plans from requiring a patient to attend an in-person visit before a telehealth visit. It also expands the early intervention services which can be provided through telehealth. The bill bars insurance companies from requiring patients provide proof of hardship or an access barrier before receiving telehealth services. Additionally, an insurer cannot require patients see a helthcare provider virtually if they prefer an in-person visit, nor can an insurer mandate that providers offer telehealth services.
With the increase in use of telehealth services throughout the pandemic, there has been a notable reduction in missed appointments, better care plan adherence, and improvement in chronic disease management. Telehealth has also reduced barriers to those seeking treatment for mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Only a handful of other states have enacted telehealth payment parity.
More information on this and other state issues can be found at Rep. McCombie’s legislative website at repmccombie.com.