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Insurers in Illinois will face deadlines to authorize medical care

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The law is meant to ensure patients don't face delays while insurers decide if treatment is approved.

Beginning on January first, insurers will face new requirements when authorizing medical treatment and prescriptions.

Illinois State Medical Society President-Elect Clarence Brown said the law is meant to ensure that people receive appropriate and timely care by setting limits on how long insurers can take to approve requests.

"Urgent medical services and medications have to be made within 48 hours. In non-urgent situations, the insurance company has up to five calendar days to decide," he said.

The law also requires peer review, to make sure decisions are being made by healthcare professionals who have experience treating the same condition a patient is being treated for. Insurers will also be required to make the process more transparent, with appropriate guidelines and medical evidence guiding decisions.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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