CHICAGO – December 13, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that will benefit thousands of orthotic and prosthetic users in Illinois covered by private health insurance plans. The law ensures that coverage for orthotic and prosthetic devices is the same as nearly all medical or surgical benefits.
“Those covered by orthotic and prosthetic insurance policies will get stronger and better coverage that is in line with other medical and surgical insurance benefits,” said Governor Quinn. “This new law should provide a greater degree of financial protection and security to those who depend upon these important devices and to their families.”
In addition, the new law will give more orthotic and prosthetic users access to new, technologically-advanced and well-fitting devices. There are over 69,000 people in Illinois living with limb loss and a comparable number of people living with disabling diseases such as Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy.
Governor Quinn signed into law HB 2652, which was sponsored by Senator Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) and Representative Kevin Joyce (D-Worth). The law goes into effect June 1, 2010.
The new law pertains to health insurance plans that contain coverage for orthotics or prosthetics (excluding foot orthotics). It amends the Illinois Insurance Code by adding a section requiring those insurance plans to provide coverage that’s on par with “substantially all medical and surgical benefits” covered in that plan.
The law pertains to health insurance plans covering orthotics or prosthetics that are issued, renewed or delivered six months after June 1, 2010.
Helping to inspire passage of this new law is the family of 14-year-old Allie Johnson, who was born without a right arm. Her insurance company would only cover one prosthetic for her lifetime. Her mother, Laurie -- who for nearly 15 years has worked with Families and Amputees in Motion and is now its president—has spent that last two-and-a-half years working with legislators and other advocates to pass the insurance parity bill.
“This new law is going to help thousands of Illinois citizens. It will improve their lives financially but, just as important, enable many of them to go back to work and contribute to society in general,” said Laurie Johnson.
Other groups and constituents that rallied in support of the Orthotic and Prosthetic Insurance Coverage Parity law include: Illinois Society of Orthotists and Prosthetists; United Healthcare; Tammie Higginbotham; and Douglas Knight, a member of Spina Bifida Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Among those joining Governor Quinn at the bill signing ceremony were: Representative Joyce; Senator Munoz; Representative Jim Durkin (R-Countryside), co-sponsor of the bill; Rep Monique Davis (D-Chicago) co-sponsor of the bill; Laurie and Allie Johnson; and Jim Kaiser, a Member of Families and Amputees in Motion.