Illinois expands insurance coverage for those with tick-borne diseases and children requiring EpiPens

SPRINGFIELD, IL (WGEM) — Governor JB Pritzker signed two new laws expanding insurance coverage for children whose allergies require life-saving EpiPens and Illinoisans suffering from Lyme disease.

“This legislation takes a big step forward in protecting our children and families,” said Pritzker. “Both of these new laws fulfill a core principle of this administration: state government ought to be standing up for working families. Lowering the cost of prescription drugs and expanding health care coverage is one important way to help lower costs and build a higher standard of living for all Illinoisans.”

The new laws include House Bill 889 and 3435.

House Bill 889

The Governor’s office stated that House Bill 889 requires insurance companies to cover office visits, testing and treatment for tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. The new law aims to support farmers throughout the state who have struggled to afford continuing treatments. From 2004 to 2016, tick-borne diseases have risen dramatically according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“The ability to receive treatment when you have previously been insufficiently treated is life changing,” said Rep. Daniel Swanson (R-Woodhull). “By mandating insurance coverage of long-term antibiotic treatment needed for patients, we are putting another piece of the puzzle into place for some patients and removing one additional hassle on their path to recovery.”

House Bill 3435

Officials stated that House Bill 3435 requires insurance companies to cover EpiPens, for children with severe allergies. The cost of an EpiPen has skyrocketed over the last decade, rising by more than 400% for the two-pen injector pack. Without insurance, these EpiPens can cost a family nearly $700 and typically have a shelf life of a little more than a year before the medicine needs to be restocked in stores.

“With steady increases in food allergies and other serious allergic conditions, families are relying on EpiPens more than ever before,” said Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield). “We should be doing everything we can to expand access to affordable lifesaving drugs and medicines. No child with a serious allergy should be without an epinephrine injector because they cannot afford one.”

House Bill 889 takes effect immediately.

House Bill 3435 takes effect on January 1, 2020.

While legislators attempt to help Lyme patients by proposing bills such as these, the CDC Lyme Corps goes into every state and undermines them:  Excerpts: 
To be clear, the CDC is using Lyme Corps to tell health practitioners the only valid treatment for Lyme, chronic Lyme and complications from coinfections are found in the 2006 IDSA Lyme Guidelines.  However, key science institutions and federal agencies would not support this objective….
The CDC Lyme Corps was initiated in 2013 prior to the NGC delisting of the IDSA Lyme Guidelines. Nevertheless, as of July 4, 2016, the IDSA and the CDC Lyme policy and programs, including Lyme Corps continue to promote these outdated notions and noncompliant Guidelines.
The IDSA has also taken numerous actions against Lyme patients’ and practitioners’ protections.  One such IDSA website post  State-Level Lyme Disease Advocacy Efforts  openly admits to undermining Lyme patient rights in: California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. [xvi]  Another such IDSA web announcement is the IDSA’s Lyme Disease Advocacy Efforts[xvii] The ‘anti-protections’ advocacy letters are detailed.

A breach of public trust by the CDC Directors responsible for protecting the public health and welfare against Lyme epidemic – all these CDC officials are members of IDSA and there are no non-IDSA members among the Directors responsible for CDC’s Lyme policy and programs.  [xxviii]

This group of CDC officials show continuous and singular “preferential treatment” for the ‘Lyme product’ of a private medical society, the IDSA. The product is the IDSA Lyme Guidelines; these Guidelines have failed federal criteria for evidence-based medicine.

The promotion of these federally noncompliant IDSA Guidelines make waste of tax dollars and misinform the public. Such actions run contrary to protecting the health and welfare of the public against the Lyme epidemic and they show a strong a lack of “honest effort in the performance of their duties.

Unfortunately, due to this undermining, I do not expect these well meaning bills to do anything of substance to truly help patients.
Regarding “doctor protection” bills, I’ve heard from doctors that they are under more scrutiny than before they had these supposed “protections.”
And regarding states that have adopted bills requiring doctors to tell patients they could still be infected even if the test is negative, I’ve heard many doctors aren’t complying.



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