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  • March 17, 2017

  • Network Adequacy Bill Clears House Insurance Committee

    capitol in winterThe Network Adequacy and Transparency (NAT) Act ( House Bill 311) passed out of the House Insurance Health & Life Committee on Tuesday. The bill is one of ISMS' top legislative priorities and has attracted more than 50 cosponsors in the House.  

    The sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Greg Harris, presented the bill outlining its very important and extensive patient protection provisions. He also described how ISMS and other stakeholders have worked to address some of the concerns of the health insurance industry and the Illinois Department of Insurance. 

    For next steps, ISMS will continue to meet with all of the stakeholders, including the Illinois Department of Insurance, while we move this bill forward. House Bill 311 now advances to the full House of Representatives for consideration.   

    The NAT Act is an ISMS initiative that would protect patients in Illinois and ensure that their health insurance networks would provide for the health care they need:

    • Patients would have access to necessary health care professionals, including specialists and appropriate health care facilities.  
    • Health insurers would be required to provide timely notice to patients when a health care professional is no longer in their network, and allow patients to change plans if this occurs. 
    • If the network changes, patients with serious health conditions or who are pregnant would be allowed to stay with their health care professional for a designated period of time. 
    • Network directories are to be accurate and kept up-to-date so patients can make informed decisions about selecting both their health insurance plans and health professionals. 

    Narrow networks and the trend to narrow them even further without any transparency will continue. Illinois must enact this landmark legislation to provide consumer protections for Illinois patients. 

    We thank you for calling the members of the House Committee at this crucial point in the legislative calendar, as your calls helped our elected officials know the importance of House Bill 311 for patient access to medical care in Illinois. 

    Despite our early success, this bill still faces significant opposition from the insurance industry. We will provide updates as the legislation progresses and ask for your help again when calls to the General Assembly are needed.

    Budget impasse 

    This past week was an important procedural deadline in the Illinois Senate – it is the last window for committee review of bills generated in the Senate. There was no movement on the "grand bargain" legislation or any progress on budget talks.

    As the spring legislative session continues, ISMS will keep you informed with Physician Advocate and the Legislative Action Hub.

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