A new law will require health insurers in Illinois to cover the habilitative needs of children with developmental disabilities just as they cover the rehabilitative needs of those who lose skills they already have.

The law will require coverage of speech, physical and occupational therapies for children with disabilities like Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism. Traditionally, insurers provide such services to individuals needing rehabilitative services because they lost skills they previously had as the result of an accident or injury, for example. In contrast, the new law will provide such services to children who need to learn skills for the first time.

Despite the change, there are no minimum requirements for coverage of habilitative or rehabilitative therapies in Illinois.

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Illinois follows Maryland and the District of Columbia in eliminating distinctions between habilitative and rehabilitative coverage. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2010, reports the Chicago Tribune. To read more click here.