Governor OKs law extending vets’ mental-health coverage

Military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder received good news Sunday when Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill that requires insurance companies in Illinois to cover treatment for the condition.

Addressing hundreds of veterans during the Illinois State Fair’s Veterans Day, Blagojevich announced that the legislation, which is effective immediately, will help military veterans grappling with the chronic mental-health condition that results from experiencing or witnessing life-threatening events, including military combat and terrorist incidents.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder is a terrible condition that hurts thousands of veterans in Illinois. It’s a disorder that makes it hard for them to work, take care of their families or function fully in society,” Blagojevich said in a statement. “Our veterans put their lives on the line defending this country. It’s our duty to help them get the treatment they need.”

The legislation, initiated by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, expands the list of mental illnesses that insurance companies must cover to include post-traumatic stress disorder. The law applies to providers that are required to cover treatment services for serious mental illnesses.