first responders

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois municipal and county first responders are one step closer toward receiving free mental health insurance coverage, thanks to State Senator Michael E. Hastings.

“Our first responders put their lives on the line every day keeping our communities safe,” said Hastings (D-Frankfort). “By making care easily affordable we are removing financial barriers and chipping away at the stigma of prioritizing mental health.”

Senate Bill 3538 would require any self-insured county or municipality that provides health insurance coverage to first responders to include mental health counseling coverage without imposing any cost-sharing requirements on patients.

"First Responders" are classified as any police, corrections officers, deputy sheriffs, firefighters, or emergency medical services personnel that are employed by local government entities, which would include counties and townships.

“Many first responders encounter traumatic events on a regular basis,” said Hastings. “It is vital that we provide them with the resources to manage and work through these difficult situations.”

Senate Bill 3538 passed the Senate Local Government Committee on Wednesday and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.