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Blago Amends Health Insurance Bill

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jul 14, 2008 1:00PM

2008_7_autism.jpgGovernor Blagojevich used his amendatory veto power Sunday to expand House Bill 4255, which requires public employee health plans to cover preventative physical therapy treatments for multiple sclerosis and to expand autism coverage. The legislation comes from Senate Bill 1900, which did not pass earlier this year, despite broad bi-partisan support. Insurance policies in Illinois will now be required to cover up to $36,000 a year in occupational, physical, speech and behavioral therapies in addition to psychiatric and psychological services, and an unlimited number of doctor visits for autistic kids until they turn 21. "Since most insurance companies do not cover the cost of treating autism, families can be torn apart and sent to the brink of financial ruin trying to care for their child," Blagojevich said Sunday.

"If a child is struggling with autism, they need extra love, attention and specialized care. This bill will help ensure they get that extra help," said State Senator James DeLeo. "As of now, we're basically uninsured for the country's number one medically-diagnosed children's disease because insurance companies deny us access to critical health insurance coverage," said Peter Dicianni, author of SB 1900 and an advisor to DeLeo. But it isn't a done deal just yet. The bill still has to go back to the House, where a majority of legislators must vote to accept the changes the governor made.