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Measure to speed up medication access now law in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – A measure intended to give Illinoisans quicker access to crucial medication by streamlining the medication coverage approval process is now in effect.

“Those in need of medicine should not have to wait days, or even weeks, to know whether they will receive medications prescribed by their doctors,” said sponsor, state Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge. “This legislation eliminates those delays and will help to improve the health of thousands of Illinois residents.”

The measure was signed by the governor late in August.

Previously, the approval process could be both time-consuming and confusing, causing a bottleneck that prevented patients from getting prescriptions in a timely matter.

Now, prior authorization requests for medications must be approved or denied by an insurance company within 72 hours.

The measure is intended to improve the state’s Health Exchange by requiring insurers to be more transparent and provide consumers with additional information about the insurance coverage and medication costs in each plan.

The senator said the measure was supported by several health advocacy organizations, including the Epilepsy Foundation of Great Chicago, American Cancer Society and several mental health advocacy organizations such as Mental Health America and the National Association for the Mentally Ill.

Rep. Laura Fine, D-Glenview, was the chief sponsor of the legislation in the Illinois House.

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