SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Proton beam therapy is one of the latest breakthroughs in certain types of cancer treatment, and medical insurance in Illinois can no longer deny coverage for it.

A news release from State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) confirms Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB 2799 into law on July 28, legislation that Hammond spent two years sponsoring.

Proton beam therapy targets tumors using positively charged protons that release their energy within the tumor with a finely controlled dose of radiation. Traditionally, x-ray treatment would deliver radiation to everything in its path.

“Proton therapy is a very effective treatment for certain types of cancer,” said Hammond. “The legislation I introduced was for a constituent who had brain cancer. She was told that proton therapy was the option that she should take for her treatment. However, it was not an in-network expense so they paid tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

“That being said, she is doing wonderfully as a result of the treatment,” the representative said.

In addition, the bill prevents insurance policies from applying a higher standard of clinical evidence for coverage of proton beam therapy than other forms of radiation therapy.

This comes after OSF Healthcare’s Cancer Institute in Peoria received state’s second proton-beam therapy machine last year, the only one of its kind in central Illinois. The 100-ton Varian ProBeam Cyclotron made in Germany was transported to OSF back in October.

The bill will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.