Braille Monitor                                                                  December 1985


State Vows to Enforce Insurance Law for Blind

by Joe Kennedy
News Gazette
Staff Writer

(Reprinted from the September 22, 1985, Champaign-Urbana, News Gazette)

The state will vigorously enforce a new law that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against the blind, an official with the Illinois Department of Insurance said Saturday. The law, which was signed two weeks ago and goes into effect January 1, forbids insurance companies from refusing to sell life, accident, and health insurance to the blind and from raising their rates for such coverage solely because an applicant is blind or partially blind.

"We mean to enforce the mandate of that statute," Lloyd Rice told the Illinois affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, meeting at the Howard Johnson's Hotel in Champaign. Rice is the department's associate director of health and life insurance. The insurance industry has discriminated against the blind for years because it believes they are more accident prone than the general population, said Peggy Pinder, Second Vice President of the Federation.

But there is no statistical evidence for that claim, she said. Blind people, using canes or dog guides, can safely move about without endangering themselves or others, she said.