Holes in federal law to protect insurance coverage put mentally ill at risk, advocates say

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When his adopted son, then 10 years old, started to hear voices and act violently, Matthew Timion knew the boy needed psychiatric help. He did not realize how difficult it would be to pay for it. Timion, a computer programmer who at the time lived in Oak Park and now lives in Moline, said he was in a continual fight with his private insurance and the state to fund his son’s stays at numerous psychiatric hospitals. After a hospital stay when the boy was 13, Timion placed him in a $300-per-day residential facility where he expected treatment to last for nine months to a year, per the advice of multiple doctors. But Timion’s insurance, which required weekly updates, after a month decided the boy was no longer a threat and that it would not cover any more days, Timion said.