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Illinois Legislature Passes First-In-The-Nation Bill to Cover Alzheimer’s Treatments for State Employees

After unanimous votes in both the Senate and House, the Illinois legislature passed Senate Bill 3318, an initiative of the Alzheimer’s Association that ensures state employee health insurance provides coverage for all FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments.  Illinois is the first state in the country to legislatively enact this requirement for Alzheimer’s treatment coverage, further expanding access to these new drugs that slow the progression of the disease.

 

"My uncle Mike suffered from Alzheimer's disease which took his life at a young age," said House sponsor State Representative Mary Gill. "This bill hits close to home, so I couldn't have been more proud to carry this bill to help someone in the future have a better chance at life."

 

Recently, the FDA approved the first-ever treatments to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease - with several more promising drugs in the approval pipeline.  However, these treatments are only effective if administered in the early stages of the disease.  Senate Bill 3318 ensures that state employee health insurance plans provide coverage for these Alzheimer’s treatments when medically necessary, while prohibiting the use of step therapy which can unnecessarily delay treatment.  The bill also requires coverage of diagnostic imaging or tests needed to confirm a diagnosis.

 

“For individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones, access to effective treatment is a lifeline of hope,” said State Senator Laura Murphy, the Senate sponsor of Senate Bill 3318. “By removing step therapy requirements, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting patients on their journey, providing them with the best possible chance for improved outcomes and enhanced quality of life.”

 

“Early-onset Alzheimer’s shortened my mother’s life and stole her dreams of a retirement filled with joy in her grandchildren,” said Holly Blastic, a state employee who would benefit from coverage upon this bill becoming law.  “My biggest fear is the burden Alzheimer’s could place on my children.  This legislation gives me peace of mind as a mother – and hope for a future where this disease no longer ravages families like mine.”

 

This vital, first of its kind legislation passed with unanimous bipartisan votes in both chambers - the Illinois Senate on a vote of 58-0-0 and the Illinois House on a vote of 107-0-0.  It now heads to Governor Pritzker’s desk for his signature.

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