Governor Pritzker Signs State Representative Margaret Croke’s Legislation to Eliminate Ghost Networks

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CHICAGO – Today, Governor JB Pritzker signed State Representative Margaret Croke’s legislation to improve access to mental health care by eliminating ghost networks into law as part of the Healthcare Protection Act. The legislation ensures those seeking mental health care are able to access an accurate network of providers and get the care they need.

“Finding mental health care can be an intimidating task, and it’s only made more difficult and discouraging when a patient thinks they’ve found a professional covered by their insurance, only to find out that the provider is out-of-network or doesn’t exist at all,” said State Representative Margaret Croke. “By eliminating ghost networks and holding insurance companies accountable for providing accurate provider directories, we can remove roadblocks that prevent Illinoisans from accessing the crucial care they need. I’m proud to see this legislation become law as a part of the Healthcare Protection Act today.”

While insurance companies are currently required to make provider directories available for consumers when selecting a health plan or looking for an in-network provider, research shows that these directories frequently mischaracterize available providers or include “ghost networks” that are not actually available to people enrolled in a plan. Research also proves the importance of ensuring people get the treatment they need – delays can cause conditions to worsen, a rise in additional health concerns, and the dramatic increase in costs.

Rep. Croke’s legislation requires insurance companies to conduct audits of provider directories every 90 days and correct any incorrect listings, while also requiring plans to describe how to dispute charges for out-of- network providers that were incorrectly listed as in-network.

Since taking office in 2021, Rep. Croke has championed initiatives to help Illinoisans access necessary health care without additional costs or barriers, including her passage of legislation in 2021 that expanded insurance coverage of fertility treatments to same-sex couples, women over 35, single women, women who cannot get pregnant naturally due to a medical issue, and others. In 2024, she passed legislation to increase insurance coverage of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments.