Advocates Secure Short-Term Plans Limits, Safeguarding Comprehensive Care, Consumer Protections for Illinoisans

SPRINGFIELD – Protect Our Care Illinois applauds the Illinois General Assembly for successfully overturning Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto of SB1737, including the Short-Term Limited Duration Health Insurance Coverage Act. By overturning the Governor’s veto, the Illinois General Assembly joins health care consumers, advocates, and providers across our state to send a strong message that Illinoisans value access to comprehensive care.

SB1737, which will go into effect on January 1, 2019, is a bipartisan, negotiated bill that will protect Illinois from a new federal rule that turns back the clock on protections for consumers with pre-existing conditions. SB1737 will limit Illinois consumers’ exposure to short-term health insurance plans which provide diminished coverage parading as a more affordable option.

The bill keeps these plans truly short term by:

  • limiting their coverage duration to 180 days,
  • requiring clear and easily understandable language on all marketing and promotional materials, and
  • giving the Department of Insurance the regulatory muscle to actually safeguard consumers against the dangers of short-term plans.

The passing of this bill is a crucial arm in ensuring that Illinoisans that were at risk of the pitfalls of skimpy plans – being sold insufficient coverage, being denied for having a pre-existing condition or experiencing higher premiums – will now have stronger consumer protections instead.

Reaction by Rep. Laura Fine:

I am proud that the Illinois General Assembly voted to support SB1737. I was very concerned about Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions who were at risk of ending up in a short-term, limited duration health insurance plan and being left exposed to lack of care and exorbitant out of pocket medical costs in 2019 and beyond. This is a strong step to making sure we are prioritizing Illinois residents receiving access to comprehensive care, not skimpy plans that put them at financial and medical risk.

Reaction by Sen. Heather Steans:

Short-term health insurance plans can hurt consumers by not providing full medical coverage and leaving patients with high medical bills. The Short-Term Limited Duration Health Insurance Coverage Act is about protecting consumers and the insurance Marketplace in Illinois. By choosing to expand these shoddy plans, it is clear that the Trump Administration does not have consumers’ best interest at heart, so as a state we need to step up and protect patients from enrolling in plans that won’t cover their expenses. I applaud my colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly for putting Illinois’ consumers top of mind and establishing strong consumer protections against these skimpy plans.

Illinois now joins a list of states leading the way in taking action to combat the Trump Administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act by promoting these low-quality plans that fail to cover basic health services and leave consumers in jeopardy of expensive medical bills.

Protect Our Care Illinois looks forward to working diligently to ensure this bill is implemented and that consumers statewide are aware of their new protections. We thank our robust network of statewide and national grassroots, legislative, and policy partners that helped secure this victory for Illinoisans. Thank you for your energy and passion. You are a testament that together we can win.