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Approaching the End

If all goes according to plan, tomorrow will mark the end of one of the most aggressive legislative agendas that has been seen at the Illinois Statehouse for years.  Legislators are attempting to reduce Illinois’ overall budget, starting with cutting the Medicaid budget down by $2.7 billion and overhauling the pension system. Despite staunch opposition by the ICS and nearly every other provider and consumer advocacy group at the Capitol, the Medicaid restructuring bill passed and has eliminated coverage for adult chiropractic care (click here for our previous coverage on the Medicaid issue).

Temperatures are running high, but I wanted to take a moment and recap on some of the other issues that we’ve faced this year at the Capitol.

50% Co-Payment Cap
The ICS is working on our initiative to instate a cap so that no insurance co-payment may exceed 50% of the negotiated office bill. After speaking with legislators and the Department of Insurance, we have been asked to collect data on this issue. Thanks to our members our conference table is currently covered with examples and EOBs illustrating our problem.  We are currently processing this information and will be continuing discussions with the Department on how to potentially find a non-legislative fix for our issue.

Doubling Licensure Fees
HB4071 (Rep. Flowers) and HB4634 (Rep. Rita) would have effectively doubled the cost of licensure in Illinois for chiropractic physicians. Last year there was an attempt to triple our fees, but like last year, this bill failed.  Any increases would simply create a surplus at the IDFPR which would in turn be used for general revenue.  That means that this increase would effectively be a tax, not a fee. We will not be surprised to see a similar attempt again next year, but for now it has been defeated.

Network Verification
As I reported back in February, HB 3812 would have required that, before doing a referral to another healthcare provider, the referring physician would be responsible for verifying that the new provider was also in network with the patient’s insurance company. The bill was initially changed to put the onus on the insurance company instead of the doctor, but the bill is essentially dead regardless.

Health Care Liens
HB5823 (Rep. Thapedi) would have prohibited physicians from collecting their full payment from a personal injury case.  The bill would have reduced the amount of a lien or other claim that a party would have on award if the injured party is found to have a comparative fault or for any other cause.  In response to opposition from the Illinois Chiropractic Society and the Illinois State Medical Society, Senate amendment #1 removed the offensive language and our objections.

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