AARP AARP States Illinois

2021 Illinois Legislation Impacting Adults 50+

Results of the 2021 Regular Legislative Session

All throughout the 2021 Spring regular legislative session, AARP Illinois fought hard on issues important for its 1.7 millions members and older adults in Illinois.

Below is a summary of the many legislative wins that AARP Illinois advocated for on behalf of older adults across the state in the areas of: health, long-term care, consumer protection, retirement security, livable communities and affordable housing and utilities.

Health:

HB 3308: Protect Access to Telehealth  Ensures that all Illinoisans will have continued access to critical healthcare services they have received through telehealth from their trusted doctor and health care provider during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SB 332: Telehealth Registry

SB 332 adds telehealth services, and whether a family caregiver can join their loved one's appointment remotely, to the state's current insurance network provider directory.

HB 711: Prior Authorization

The legislation offers a solution to patients frustrated by unneeded delays in their medical care caused by insurance company requirements. Illinois patients often have care delayed or denied because of their health plans' use of a process called "prior authorization.” Prior authorization reform legislation addresses delays for patient care caused by the process.

SB 677: Dementia-Capable Healthcare Providers

Ensures providers in Illinois who serve adults receive at least 1 hour of training on the diagnosis, treatment and care of persons with Alzheimer’s as part of the existing continuing medical education for renewal of licensure. 

Long-term care, home and community-based services and caregiving:

SB 2137: Nursing Home Virtual Visitation - Stop Social Isolation SB 2137 makes permanent the ability to connect nursing home residents virtually with family members, loved ones, and to religious or recreational activities when in-person visits are prohibited or restricted due to federal or state rule or guidance.

HR 298/SR 305: End-of-life, Compassionate Care and Essential Caregiving

Urges Illinois long-term care facilities to uphold and adhere to federal and state laws, rules, regulations, and guidance on a resident's standards of care, rights, protections, and inalienable right to be treated with respect, dignity and quality care.

Home and Community-Based Services

And we thank lawmakers for looking out for the needs of the state’s older adult population by approving a budget that fully funds the Community Care program and other home and community-based services provided by the Illinois Department on Aging and our statewide aging network providers.

Consumer Protections:

SB 1792: Predatory Loan Prevention Act 

Implements a 36 percent interest rate cap on consumer loans, including payday and car title loans. The legislation, which passed with a bipartisan vote, is part of an omnibus economic equity bill.

Retirement Security:

HB 117: Expand Secure Choice to Help Workers Save for Retirement

The Illinois Secure Choice Program is a retirement savings program that makes it easy for Illinois workers who do not currently have access to an employment-based retirement benefit to save for retirement.  Employers with at least 25 employees that have been in business at least 2 years who do not already offer such a benefit are required enroll so their employees of all ages can start saving for retirement. 

HB 117 expands access to the program to one million more Illinois workers by lowering the minimum employee threshold to 5 employees.  Since launching in 2018, the program has brought retirement savings access to workers in every county across Illinois. AARP Illinois worked hard to support Secure Choice because we know that helping people ages 50 and older to improve their quality of life as they age does not just mean helping people who are near or currently in retirement.

SB 919: Expanding the Illinois Broadband Advisory Council

AARP Illinois introduced and passed this legislation to support diversity on the Broadband Advisory Council.  The Council, which was originally created due to an AARP Illinois effort, will now expand its size to 25 members adding four new slots for leaders within the African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino and Asian American/Pacific Islander communities as well as a slot designated for one more ethnically diverse individual. This is an important part of AARP Illinois’ Disrupt Disparities initiative to analyze challenges and develop policy solutions for older adults of color.

Livable Communities/ Affordable Housing:

SB 2244: Expand Illinois' Property Tax Deferral Program Expands eligibility for a program that allows homeowners with modest incomes, many of whom are people of color, to borrow money from the State to pay property taxes, and then pay it back at a reasonable rate over a longer period of time.

HB 2621: Affordable Housing Omnibus

Creates a COVID-19 Affordable Housing Grant Program to provide gap financing for projects receiving federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits through 2026, improves new property tax assessment policy to create affordable rental housing, increases the bonding authority for the Illinois Housing Development Authority, and provides measures to create affordable rental housing in communities with the lowest amount of affordable housing.

HB 2877: COVID Emergency Housing Relief

Creates the COVID19 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act.  Codifies certain provisions of the federally-funded emergency rental assistance program to  ensure that people with the lowest incomes and most severe housing needs are able to access rental assistance they need. 

HB 270: Bicycle and Pedestrian Ways 

This legislation makes streets safer for all users by easing the path for approval and development of walking and biking infrastructure for state-funded roads.  This important step will also lessen inequitable distribution of walking and biking lanes in communities unable to meet the previous local match requirement. 

Utilities:

Utility issues: Demand transparency, accountability and no rate hikes

As an enormous energy bill that will cost ratepayers and bailout utility companies continues to be negotiated, AARP Illinois is standing with the residential customers who demand their voices be heard. The rate schemes that only benefit the utility companies, bailouts for nuclear plants, forced electrification, and increased rate caps for ratepayers are just a few reasons that electric bills will steadily increase on citizens who can least afford it.

Help AARP Illinois advocate for everyday consumers. Click here to share your story of how increasing utility costs have impacted you and we will forward it to your legislator! Or Click to Tweet a legislator about utilities.

About AARP Illinois
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.