Senator FineSPRINGFIELD – Illinois families would no longer have to travel unreasonable distances or wait weeks for mental health and substance use disorder treatment under legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), which passed the Senate Friday.

“Individuals seeking mental health treatment deserve to be cared for just as quickly and close to home as those seeking any other type of medical care,” Senator Fine said. “It needs to be as easy as possible for Illinoisans to access reliable mental health and substance use disorder treatment.”

Senator Fine’s measure would require insurers to provide timely and proximate access to treatment for mental, emotional, nervous or substance use disorders and conditions. Insurers would also have to make an exception to out-of-network copay requirements if there are not any in-network providers available nearby or timely enough.

Individuals seeking outpatient mental health treatment would not have to travel longer than 30 minutes or 30 miles for care in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties under Senator Fine’s plan. The limit increases to 60 minutes or 60 miles in other Illinois counties. Additionally, Illinoisans would not have to wait more than 10 business days between requesting an initial appointment and being seen by a provider.

“The fight to destigmatize mental illness includes ensuring access to quality, affordable mental health care,” Senator Fine said. “I’m happy to see this legislation continue moving forward to help Illinois families.”

Senate Bill 471 passed the Senate and now goes to the House of Representatives.