CHICAGO – During his first year in office, Governor Blagojevich pushed for and signed into law landmark legislation from raising the minimum wage to protecting elders from abuse to ensure women’s access to contraceptives and to improving road safety. These laws and others will take effect New Year’s Day.
Senior Drug Buying Club - The Illinois Rx Buying Club, a state-sponsored initiative, designed to win discounts on all FDA-approved prescriptions at retail pharmacies and also through a mail-order option. The Club, which is open to all Illinoisans who are 65 and older and those with disabilities, expects to win a range of discounts, averaging about 20 percent, on drugs for members who pay an annual $25 administrative fee. The program requires no paperwork after initial application, no caps on the benefit, no co-pays and imposes no income barriers to membership. Information about the Club and application form are available at 1-866-215-3462 (Voice) or 1-866-215-3479 (TTY).
Booster Seat Law - Provides that whenever a person is transporting a child under age eight, the person is responsible for properly securing the child in an appropriate child restraint system, which includes a booster seat and when transporting a child eight years of age or older, but under age 16, is responsible for properly securing that child in a safety belt.
New Teen Drivers - Any person under the age of 18 who receives a graduated driver’s license, for the first six months of the license or until the person reaches the age of 18, whichever occurs sooner, may not drive with more than one person in the vehicle who is under the age of 20 unless they are siblings, children, step-siblings, or stepchildren of the driver.
Left Lane Law - While traveling on an interstate highway, a vehicle may not be driven in the left lane, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle. This prohibition does not apply to authorized emergency vehicles while engaged in official duties.
Contraceptive Coverage - Public Act 93-0102 (House Bill 211) prohibits insurance companies that already cover prescription drugs and devices from excluding coverage for contraceptives. In addition, the bill requires plans that cover outpatient medical services to also cover contraceptive services such as consultations, examinations and procedures related to pregnancy prevention. The new law does not extend to abortion services.
Women of reproductive age currently spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, due in large part to the cost of reproductive health drugs and services. A prescription for an oral contraceptive costs approximately $30 a month, or $360 a year. In contrast, employers can save money by providing contraceptive coverage and avoiding high costs associated with unplanned pregnancies. The Washington Business Group on Health conducted a study and found that not providing coverage for contraceptives can cost employers 15 percent to 17 percent more than providing coverage.
"For the first time in our state’s history, contraceptive prescriptions for women will be paid for by their insurance companies, instead of out of their own pockets,” said Governor Blagojevich. “For far too long, when it comes to issues of reproductive health care, women have not received the same treatment as men.”