SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Biomarker testing for Illinois residents will now become covered under insurance policies and managed care plans under a new law passed by state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago.
“Illinois residents having access to biomarker testing will save the lives of many people who could be vulnerable to cancers and may not even know it. The ability to detect, treat and manage life-threatening diseases before the effects get out of hand will give many people the chance to live the long, healthy lives they deserve,” said Flowers. “Giving this across-the-board access to these types of healthcare services will give equity to those who may not be able to afford it otherwise. The area you live in or the job you have should not stop someone from receiving the care they need.”
Flowers sponsored House Bill 1779, which will require group and individual health insurance policies and managed care plans to include coverage for biomarker testing for diagnosis, treatment or ongoing monitoring of an individual’s condition. The need for Biomarker testing can be supported by medical and scientific evidence such as FDA-approved testing results or nationally-recognized medical guidelines.
Biomarkers are defined as characteristics that are objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biological processes. Biomarker testing is used to examine blood or tissue to find cancer and other complications. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. Although there are over 16 million cancer survivors alive nationwide, cancer is the second leading cause of death for Illinois residents.
“While we are still working to discover a cure for cancer, having the testing to detect different cancers faster can lead to better treatment for future cancer patients,” said Flowers. “Being someone who has lost loved ones to cancer, I am proud to bring forth this direly-needed legislation and look forward to continuing to give all residents of Illinois equitable access to health and medical services.”
House Bill 1779 was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, making Illinois the first state in the nation to have covered biomarker testing for insured individuals. The coverage also applies to Medicaid and state employee plans as well as plans administered under the Counties Code, Municipal Code, School Code, Limited Health Service Organization Act and Voluntary Health Services Plans Act.