Lucy Kokor October 24, 2019 No Comments

State health insurance mandates are laws regulating the terms of coverage for insured health plans. Mandates can affect various parts of health insurance plans, as follows:

Benefit mandates require health insurance plans to cover specific treatments, services or procedures.

Provider mandates require health insurance plans to pay for services provided by specific health care professionals. Often, provider mandates are in the form of nondiscrimination mandates that require coverage only if the health plan already reimburses services within the scope of the health care professional’s practice.

Person mandates require health insurance plans to cover specific categories of people.

Additional mandates for health plans exist at the federal level. For example, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires non-grandfathered plans in the small group and individual markets to provide coverage for items and services designated as “essential health benefits.” Health plan sponsors and issuers should work with their advisors to determine how to comply with applicable federal and state mandates.

This Employment Law Summary contains charts outlining Illinois’ benefit, provider and person mandates for group health insurance plans issued in Illinois. Please keep in mind that the following charts do not address federal benefit mandates, such as those found in the ACA.

Benefit Mandates

Alcoholism Plans that provide inpatient hospital coverage for sickness must cover inpatient treatment of alcoholism.
Amino acid-based elemental formulas Plans must cover amino acid-based elemental formulas, regardless of delivery method, for the diagnosis and treatment of:

•  Eosinophilic disorders; and

•  Short bowel syndrome.

This mandate applies when the prescribing physician has issued a written order stating that an amino acid-based elemental formula is medically necessary.

Autism spectrum disorders Plans must provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for individuals under age 21, subject to an inflation-adjusted maximum benefit of $36,000 per year. This coverage may not be subject to any limits on the number of visits to a service provider, and dollar limits and cost-sharing provisions may not be less favorable than those that apply to physical illness generally.
Blood processing Plans that cover miscellaneous hospital expenses must cover the processing and administration of blood and its components.
Breast cancer pain Plans must cover all medically necessary pain medication and therapy related to the treatment of breast cancer on the same terms and conditions that are generally applicable to coverage for other conditions.
Breast exams Plans must cover clinical breast examinations as follows:

•  At least every three years for women between ages 20 and 40; and

•  Annually for women age 40 or older.

Breast implant removal Plans must cover the removal of breast implants when the removal is medically necessary for the treatment of a sickness or injury. This mandate does not apply to implants inserted solely for cosmetic reasons, except for cosmetic surgery performed as reconstruction resulting from sickness or injury.
Cancer treatment – prescription drugs (off-label drug use) Plans that cover prescription drugs approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain types of cancer may not exclude any drug on the basis that the drug has been prescribed for the treatment of a type of cancer for which the drug has not been approved by the FDA. The drug, however, must be FDA-approved and must be recognized for the treatment of the specific type of cancer for which it has been prescribed. This coverage must also include medically necessary services associated with the administration of a drug.
Cancer trials – routine patient care Plans must cover any routine patient care administered to an insured who is a qualified individual participating in a qualified clinical cancer trial, if the plan covers that same routine patient care for insureds who are not enrolled in a qualified clinical cancer trial. This coverage may be subject to all terms, conditions, restrictions, exclusions and limitations that apply to the same routine patient care received outside of a qualified clinical cancer trial. An insured individual’s out-of-pocket liability for these benefits may not be greater than they would be had the insured not enrolled in a qualified clinical cancer trial.
Colorectal cancer screenings Plans must cover all colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests for colorectal cancer as prescribed by a physician, in accordance with certain guidelines. Plans may not impose any waiting period or cost-sharing requirement that is greater than that imposed on other coverage under the plan.
Contraceptives Plans must cover all of the following without cost-sharing:

•  Contraceptive drugs, devices and other products approved by the FDA, including those available over-the-counter (but excluding male condoms);

•  Voluntary sterilization procedures;

•  Contraceptive services, patient education and counseling on contraception; and

•  Follow-up services related to the covered contraceptive drugs, devices, products and procedures.

Criminal sexual assault Plans may not exclude coverage for examination and testing of a victim of a criminal sexual assault.
Dental adjunctive services Plans must cover anesthesia and other charges incurred in conjunction with dental care that is provided in a hospital or an ambulatory surgical treatment center to:

•  A child age six or under;

•  A person with a medical condition that requires hospitalization or general anesthesia for dental care; or

•  A disabled individual.

Plans must also cover anesthetics and other charges incurred in conjunction with dental care provided by a dentist to a covered individual in a dental office, oral surgeon’s office, hospital, or ambulatory surgical treatment center if the individual is under age 19 and has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or a developmental disability.

This coverage may be subject to any limitations, exclusions or cost-sharing provisions that apply generally under the plan. This mandate does not require coverage of dental services.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Plans may not contain any exception or exclusion of benefits solely because the mother of the insured has taken DES.
Diabetes self-management, equipment, supplies, etc. Plans must cover outpatient self-management training, equipment and supplies for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus. This coverage must include regular foot care exams by a physician, along with the following, when they are medically necessary and prescribed by a physician:

•  Blood glucose monitors, including blood glucose monitors for the legally blind;

•  Cartridges for the legally blind; and

•  Lancets and lancing devices.

Cost-sharing for these benefits must be the same as those that apply for other services provided by the same type of provider.

Plans that provide a drug benefit must also cover the following, which must be subject to the same cost-sharing provisions as other covered drugs:

•  Insulin;

•  Syringes and needles;

•  Test strips for glucose monitors;

•  FDA-approved oral agents used to control blood sugar; and

•  Glucagon emergency kits.

Finally, coverage for diabetes self-management training may be limited to the following:

•  Three medically necessary visits to a qualified provider upon initial diabetes diagnosis; and

•  Two medically necessary visits to a qualified provider when a significant change in the patient’s symptoms or medical condition has occurred.

Emergency coverage – under the influence Plans may not, solely on the basis of the insured being intoxicated or under the influence of a narcotic, exclude coverage for any emergency or other medical, hospital or surgical expenses incurred as a result of (or related to) an injury acquired while the insured was intoxicated or under the influence of any narcotic, regardless of whether the intoxicant or narcotic is administered on the advice of a health care practitioner. Coverage for these services may be subject to cost-sharing and limits that are consistent with those applicable to other similar coverage under the plan.
Fertility preservation services Effective Jan. 1, 2019, plans must cover medically necessary expenses for standard fertility preservation services when a necessary medical treatment may directly or indirectly cause iatrogenic infertility to an enrollee. Iatrogenic infertility means in impairment of fertility by surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or other medical treatment affecting reproductive organs or processes.
Fibrocystic breast condition Plans may not contain any exception or exclusion of benefits solely because the insured has been diagnosed as having a fibrocystic breast condition, unless:

•  The condition is diagnosed by a breast biopsy that demonstrates an increased disposition to the development of breast cancer; or

•  The insured’s medical history confirms a chronic, relapsing, symptomatic breast condition.

Habilitative services for children Plans must cover medically necessary and therapeutic habilitative services for children under age 19 with a congenital, genetic, or early acquired disorder diagnosed by a physician.
HIV testing (prenatal) Plans that provide maternity coverage must cover prenatal HIV testing.
HPV vaccine Plans must cover an FDA-approved human papillomavirus vaccines.
Infertility Plans that cover more than 25 employees and provide pregnancy-related benefits must cover the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, subject to certain conditions. An exception to this mandate is available for religious institutions and organizations.
Mammography screening/breast ultrasound Plans must cover low-dose mammography (including digital mammography) screening for the presence of occult breast cancer as follows:

•  A baseline mammogram for women 35 to 39 years of age;

•  An annual mammogram for women 40 years of age or older; and

•  A mammogram at the age and intervals considered medically necessary by the woman’s health care provider for women under 40 years of age and having a family history of breast cancer, prior personal history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing or other risk factors; and

•  A screening MRI when medically necessary, as determined by a licensed physician.

Plans must also provide coverage for a comprehensive ultrasound screening and MRI if a mammogram demonstrates heterogeneous or dense breast tissue, when medically necessary as determined by a licensed physician.

This coverage must be provided at no cost to the insured and may not be applied to an annual or lifetime maximum benefit.

Mastectomy: breast reconstruction after surgery Plans that cover mastectomies must also cover prosthetic devices or reconstructive surgery incident to the mastectomy. Coverage for breast reconstruction must include:

•  Reconstruction of the breast upon which the mastectomy has been performed;

•  Surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance; and

•  Prostheses and treatment for physical complications at all stages of mastectomy, including lymphedemas.

This coverage must be subject to the deductible and coinsurance conditions applied to the mastectomy. When a mastectomy is performed and there is no evidence of malignancy, coverage may be limited to the provision of prosthetic devices and reconstructive surgery within two years of the mastectomy.

Mastectomy – post surgery care Plans that provide surgical coverage must cover inpatient services following a mastectomy for a length of time determined by the attending physician to be medically necessary, based on certain protocols and guidelines, and upon evaluation of the patient and the coverage for and availability of a post-discharge physician office visit or in-home nurse visit to verify the condition of the patient in the first 48 hours after discharge.
Maternity – post parturition care Plans that provide maternity coverage must provide the following amount of inpatient care:

•  A minimum of 48 hours after a vaginal delivery for the mother and the newborn; or

•  A minimum of 96 hours after a caesarian section delivery for the mother and newborn.

A shorter hospital stay may be provided if the attending physician determines it is appropriate, based on certain guidelines, and depending on the coverage and availability of a post-discharge physician office visit or in-home nurse visit to verify the condition of the infant in the first 48 hours after discharge.

Mental health Plans must offer coverage for reasonable and necessary treatment and services for mental, emotional or nervous disorders or conditions, other than serious mental illnesses, consistent with mental health parity requirements.
Mental health parity


Plans that provide coverage for hospital or medical treatment and for the treatment of mental, emotional, nervous or substance use disorders or conditions must provide that:

•  The financial requirements and treatment limitations applicable to these benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant financial requirements and treatment limitations applied to substantially all hospital and medical benefits covered by the policy; and

•  There are no separate cost-sharing requirements or treatment limitations that are applicable only to these benefits.

This mandate also contains specific parity requirements for aggregate lifetime limits and annual limits and must be interpreted in a manner consistent with federal regulations issued under the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

Mental health – serious mental illness Plans must cover treatment of serious mental illness and substance use disorders, consistent with mental health parity requirements.

This mandate does not apply to small employers. A “small employer” is one that employed an average of 50 or fewer employees during the preceding calendar year.

This mandate requires coverage based on medical necessity and consistent with the mental health parity requirements, provided coverage for each calendar year may not be less than the following:

•  45 days of inpatient treatment, including substance use disorder treatment in a licensed residential treatment center;

•  60 visits for outpatient treatment including group and individual outpatient treatment;

•  20 additional outpatient visits for speech therapy for treatment of pervasive developmental disorders.

Plans may not include a lifetime limit on the number of days of covered inpatient treatment or the number of covered outpatient visits.

Multiple Sclerosis – preventative physical therapy Plans must cover medically necessary preventative physical therapy for insureds diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, if prescribed by a physician and if the therapy includes reasonably defined goals. This coverage must be subject to the same deductible, coinsurance, waiting period, cost sharing limitation, treatment limitation, calendar year maximum or other limitations as those that apply to other physical or rehabilitative therapy benefits.
Organ transplants Plans may not deny reimbursement for an otherwise covered expense incurred for any organ transplantation procedure solely because the procedure is experimental or investigational.
Organ transplants – immunosuppressive drugs When a prescribing physician has indicated “may not substitute” on a prescription, a plan that covers drugs may not require or cause a pharmacist to interchange another immunosuppressant drug or formulation issued to inhibit or prevent the activity of the immune system of a patient to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs and tissues, without notification and the documented consent of the prescribing physician and the patient, or the parent or guardian if the patient is a child, or the spouse of a patient who is authorized to consent to the treatment of the person.
Osteoporosis & bone mass measurement Plans must cover medically necessary bone mass measurement and the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis on the same terms and conditions that generally apply to coverage for other medical conditions.
Ovarian cancer screening Plans must cover surveillance tests for ovarian cancer for female insureds who are at risk for ovarian cancer.
Pap tests Plans must cover an annual cervical smear or Pap smear test for female insureds.
Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders Plans must cover treatment of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome.
Prescription inhalants Plans that cover prescription drugs must cover prescription inhalants for persons with asthma or other life-threatening bronchial ailments, as often as needed, if medically appropriate and prescribed by the treating physician. Restrictions on refill limits may not apply to these drugs.
Prostate specific antigen testing Plans must cover an annual digital rectal examination and a prostate-specific antigen test for male insureds upon the recommendation of a physician for:

•  Asymptomatic men age 50 and over;

•  African American men age 40 and over; and

•  Men age 40 and over with a family history of prostate cancer.

Prosthetic and orthotic devices Plans must cover prosthetic and orthotic devices, subject to the plans’ other general exclusions, limitations and financial requirements, under terms and conditions that are no less favorable than those that apply to substantially all medical and surgical benefits under the plan. Repairs and replacements of prosthetic and orthotic devices must also be covered, subject to the copayments and deductibles, unless necessitated by misuse or loss.
Shingles vaccine Plans must cover an FDA-approved shingles vaccine when ordered by a physician for an enrollee who is 60 years of age or older.
Telehealth Plans that cover telehealth services may not require:

•  That in-person contact occur between a health care provider and a patient;

•  The health care provider to document a barrier to an in-person consultation for coverage of services to be provided through telehealth;

•  The use of telehealth when the health care provider has determined that it is not appropriate; or

•  The use of telehealth when a patient chooses an in-person consultation.

Cost-sharing applicable to services provided through telehealth may not exceed the cost-sharing required for the same services provided through in-person consultation.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) Plans must offer coverage for the treatment of TMJ and craniomandibular disorder. The maximum lifetime benefit for these services may be limited to no less than $2,500. 

Provider Mandates

Chiropractor Plans that cover services within the scope of these providers’ licenses must cover the services regardless of whether these providers or a physician provides the services, as long as the treatment and services are within the scope of the providers’ licenses.
Alcohol and drug abuse practitioners Plans that cover treatment of alcoholism or other drug abuse or dependency on both an inpatient and outpatient basis must include coverage for services provided by persons or entities licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services to provide alcoholism or drug abuse or dependency services, provided that:

•  The charges are otherwise eligible for reimbursement under the plan; and

•  The services provided are medically necessary and within the scope of the provider’s license.

Autism diagnosis and treatment providers Plans must cover the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders, which includes tests, evaluations or assessments that are prescribed, performed or ordered by a licensed physician or a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in diagnosing autism spectrum disorders.

Coverage for medically necessary early intervention services must be delivered by certified early intervention specialists, as defined under Illinois regulations. The treatment for autism spectrum disorders includes care that is prescribed, provided, or ordered by a licensed physician or a certified, registered, or licensed health care professional with expertise in treating effects of autism spectrum disorders when the care is determined to be medically necessary and ordered by a licensed physician.

Habilitative services providers Plans must cover habilitative services for children administered by a licensed speech-language pathologist, licensed audiologist, licensed occupational therapist, licensed physical therapist, licensed physician, licensed nurse, licensed optometrist, licensed nutritionist, licensed social worker or licensed psychologist upon the referral of a physician.
Hospitals Plans may not deny a claim for treatment or services for:

•  Mental illness rendered in a hospital solely because such hospital lacks surgical facilities; or

•  Rehabilitation following either a physical or mental illness rendered in a hospital solely because such hospital lacks surgical facilities.

Mental health providers Each insured that is covered for mental, emotional or nervous disorders or conditions must be free to select the licensed physician, licensed clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed clinical professional counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed speech-language pathologist or other licensed or certified professional at a program licensed under the Illinois Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act of his or her choice to treat such disorders, and the insurer must pay the covered charges of the health care provider up to the limits of coverage, provided that:

·       The disorder or condition treated is covered by the plan, and

·       The health care provider is authorized to provide the services under state statutes and in accordance with accepted principles of his or her profession.

Prosthetic and orthotic device providers Plans must cover prosthetic or custom orthotic devices from any licensed prosthetist, licensed orthotist or licensed pedorthist.

Person Mandates

Adopted children Plans that provide family coverage may not exclude a child from coverage or limit coverage for a child solely because the child is adopted or does not live with the insured.
Civil union partners/families Plans that provide family coverage must cover the parties of a civil union on the same basis as they cover married individuals. If a plan provides coverage for children, children of civil unions must also be covered.
Continuation for dependent children An employee’s dependent child who is covered under a plan must be offered continuation coverage if group coverage would otherwise end due to:

•  The child’s attainment of the policy’s limiting age; or

•  The employee’s death, if coverage is not available through spousal continuation.

The continuation coverage may last for a maximum period of 2 years.

Continuation for employees Employees who have been continuously covered under a policy for at least three months and whose coverage would otherwise end because of termination of employment (other than because he or she committed a felony or theft in connection with work) or reduction in hours may elect to continue coverage for themselves and their eligible dependents for a maximum period of 12 months.
Continuation for spouse An employee’s spouse and dependent children who are covered under a plan must be offered continuation coverage if group coverage would otherwise end due to dissolution of marriage or death of the employee (for a spouse of any age), or due to the employee’s retirement (for a spouse who is age 55 or older). For spouses who have not reached age 55 at the time continuation coverage begins, coverage may last for a maximum period of 2 years. For spouses who have reached age 55 at the time continuation coverage begins, the maximum coverage period may last until the date of Medicare eligibility.
Conversion An employee who has been covered under a group policy for at least three months and whose insurance under the group plan has been terminated for any reason (except discontinuance of the plan in its entirety where there is a succeeding carrier and the employee’s failure to pay any required contribution) must be entitled to a conversion policy without evidence of insurability. The converted policy must cover the employee and his or her dependents who were covered on the date of termination of insurance. Conversion privileges are also available upon the employee’s death or when a spouse or dependent child loses eligibility under the group plan. Conversion policies must also be offered following continuation coverage.
Dependent coverage – young adult Plans that provide family coverage must cover unmarried young adults up to age 26 (or age 30 for military veterans) who meet any other eligibility requirements that apply under the plan. Plans may not condition dependent eligibility on enrollment in an educational institution.

For military veterans to qualify for dependent coverage up to age 30, the veteran must:

•  Be an Illinois resident;

•  Have served as a member of the active or reserve components of any of the branches of the Armed Forces of the United States, including the National Guard; and

•  Have received a release or discharge other than a dishonorable discharge.

Dependent coverage- disabled If coverage would terminate because a dependent child attains a plan’s limiting age, the child’s hospital and medical coverage must continue if he or she is:

•  Incapable of self-sustaining employment; and

•  Dependent on his or her parents or other care providers for lifetime care and supervision because of a condition that occurred before the child reached the limiting age.

Dependent students – medical leave of absence Plans must continue to provide coverage for a dependent college student who takes a medical leave of absence or reduces his or her course load to part-time status because of a catastrophic illness or injury. This continuation may terminate 12 months after notice of the illness or injury or, if earlier, when the coverage would have otherwise lapsed.
Extension of benefits– total disability Plans must provide a reasonable extension of benefits (up to 12 months) in the event of total disability on the date the policy is discontinued for any reason.
Newborn child Plans that provide family coverage must cover a newborn child from the moment of birth, if the newborn meets the definition of “dependent” under the plan. This coverage must include illness, injury, congenital defects, birth abnormalities and premature birth, to the extent the service, supplies and treatments are covered under the plan. Notification and premium payment may be required.
Surviving dependents Upon the death of an insured employee, dependent coverage, if any, must continue for a period of at least 90 days subject to any other plan provisions relating to termination of dependent coverage.


Illinois Department of Insurance –

Illinois Laws – Illinois’ statutes are available here