fine navydressSPRINGFIELD – Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is working to ensure children suffering from cleft lip and palate abnormalities have access to the health care coverage they need to prevent complications as they grow.

“Children and their families should not have to face expensive out-of-pocket costs to get necessary treatment for a child’s cleft lip abnormality,” Senator Fine said. “I am glad we are advancing this bill so that this health care treatment will be more accessible for our children.”

House Bill 4349 would require state-regulated health insurance policies to cover all medically necessary care and treatment of cleft lip and palate abnormalities for children under the age of 19. Cleft lip and cleft palate abnormalities can have significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of children, such as interfering with their ability to breathe, speak or eat in a normal manner. However, treatments for these abnormalities are sometimes considered cosmetic and are denied coverage by many insurance companies. This leaves many children without access to the health care they need to fix these abnormalities.

“Cleft lip and palate abnormalities may seriously impact a child’s quality of life, and can lead to significant health issues later in life if left untreated,” Senator Fine said. “Prompt treatment is imperative, and this bill will ensure children and their families will not have to worry about delayed or denied procedures, but get this treatment under their insurance plan when their doctor recommends it.”

House Bill 4349 passed the Senate on Wednesday and heads to the governor’s desk before becoming law.