Pritzker Signs Permanent Telehealth Expansion

By Benjamin Cox on July 25, 2021 at 11:50am

Photo by fizkes/Getty Images

Governor J.B. Pritzker made permanent an executive order regarding telehealth by signing a bill in Chicago Thursday.

Pritzker signed executive order 2020-09 in March 2020 as a part of his COVID-19 executive orders requiring insurers to reimburse health care providers for telehealth with the same payment rates as in-person care. House Bill 3308, passed by the General Assembly this Spring, permanently extends the parity requirement for mental health and substance use disorder services, while authorizing all other telehealth to be covered though 2027.

Pritzker says the bill expands upon his original order: “Illinois is now one of the first states in the nation to turn our emergency response into a permanent reality. Not only that, it expands key telehealth services like early intervention programs for early childhood development, adding to the growing number of telehealth services the General Assembly authorized this year such as support for tele-monitoring interactions among doctors so that they can improve patient care. We are making it easier for our residents to make telehealth an important and regular way to access healthcare services so that they can live their best lives.”

To protect confidentiality, the bill bars insurers from requiring patients to provide a reason—such as proof of hardship or an access barrier—for choosing a telehealth visit over an in-person consult. Additionally, an insurer cannot require patients see a healthcare provider virtually if they prefer an in-person visit, nor can an insurer mandate that physicians offer telehealth. Pritzker says Illinois has become the nation’s leader in offering the telehealth services and protections. The bill takes effect immediately.