Bill takes aim at dropped insurance coverage

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – Supporters of a new bill want to protect insurance coverage for Illinoisans with diseases.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders, along with people who are actively dealing with the effects of a rare disease, met at the capitol in support of House Bill 4146. The legislation is meant to take aim at insurance companies who change coverage in the middle of someone’s coverage plan.

Supporters of the bill argue insurance companies can cause serious issues when they bump up copay and out-of-pocket costs, bring in new coverage restrictions or drop coverage of a prescription medication. They say people with Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and epilepsy can see complications if their medications are no longer covered.

If it is passed, the bill would stop insurers from changing plans in certain situations. It would prevent reductions for drugs previously approved for medical plan coverage, or if the provider of a prescription drug continues providing the prescription when a medical condition is involved. It would also protect coverage for a person who stays enrolled in a health plan.

It would amend the Managed Care Reform and Patient Rights Act in Illinois.

“The health plan can’t change in the middle of the year your access to that treatment by putting it in a different tier or by all of a sudden changing your out-of-pocket premium (and causing it to) escalate drastically,” said NORD VP of Development and Marketing Alexa Moore. “They would have to retain that (plan) for the full calendar year and then make changes in the renewal period, when the patient would then have an option to switch to a different plan if their prescription would no longer by covered.”

People with rare diseases spent time presenting arguments to lawmakers in a Wednesday meeting about the change they feel needs to happen.

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