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On July 1, Illinois Will Enter YEAR THREE as the State With No Budget
Posted on: 6/8/2017

Spring legislative session update

For the third year in a row, Illinois lawmakers ended the spring legislative session without enacting a state budget. So fiscal year 2018 can be added to the pile-up of the other "no budget" fiscal years. Illinois’s monstrous mound of unpaid bills – which includes an estimated $7 billion owed for health care – will continue to grow.  

Officially, lawmakers have until June 30 to enact a budget – but don’t hold your breath. The legislature now enters a June overtime session, in which a three-fifths majority is required to pass bills.

The budget impasse made it more difficult for any legislation to move. Even so, ISMS worked hard on your behalf and was successful on many fronts.

We helped to advance our top legislative priority, the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act (NAT Act). Last month, the measure (House Bill 311) unanimously cleared by the Senate. Our bill still requires one last concurrence action in the Illinois House of Representatives, which could come in the weeks ahead when lawmakers return to Springfield. The House previously supported the measure by a margin of 110-2 (with one voting present), so we remain confident that its important consumer protections will become law.

The NAT Act will:

  • Provide the Illinois Department of Insurance a framework to ensure that patients have access to necessary health care professionals, including specialists and appropriate health care facilities. 

  • Require health insurers to provide notice to patients when their health care professional is no longer in their network. Doctors will also have new patient notification requirements if they choose to leave a network.

  • Allow patients with serious health conditions or who are pregnant to stay with their health care professional for a designated period of time if the network changes.

  • Ensure that network directories are accurate and kept up-to-date for patients to make informed decisions about selecting both their health insurance plans and health professionals.

Read our position paper on network adequacy.

ISMS was also successful in advocating against dangerous changes to our state's workers' compensation program. We helped to stop proposed cuts to the medical fee schedule, which was gearing up to be slashed based on a faulty comparison to Medicare reimbursements. ISMS supported House Bill 2525, which does not contain fee schedule cuts. This bill includes an ISMS-backed provision that would require insurers to use electronic billing for workers’ compensation medical claims.

House Bill 2525 cleared the General Assembly, but its fate ultimately rests with Governor Rauner.

Read our position paper on workers' compensation.

For the latest updates, stay tuned to the Legislative Action Hub and watch future editions of Physician Advocate.

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