fine051920210603SPRINGFIELD – Illinois families will be able to access mental health and substance use disorder treatment without traveling long distances or waiting unreasonable amounts of time under a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview), which was signed into law Friday.

“Oftentimes individuals can’t afford to wait days or weeks for mental health or substance use disorder treatment,” Senator Fine said. “It’s imperative that Illinoisans have easy access to timely and reliable mental health care.”

Senator Fine’s measure requires insurers to provide timely and proximate access to treatment for mental, emotional, nervous or substance use disorders and conditions. Insurers will 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 will 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 will not have to wait more than 10 business days between requesting an initial appointment and being seen by a provider.

“Mental health care will now be as accessible for Illinois families as other medical care,” Senator Fine said. “This law has the potential to save countless lives across our state.”

Senate Bill 471 was signed into law Friday and will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.