TOUCHED BY LYME: New Hampshire Lyme insurance bill heads to governor
Wendy Thomas and five of her six adult children have all been diagnosed with Lyme disease and co-infections. So, she knows a thing or two about what families go through to obtain proper treatment for tick-borne illness. And about how difficult it can be to get insurance companies to pay for it.
Wendy Thomas is also a New Hampshire state lawmaker. She has authored a Lyme insurance coverage bill that has now passed both houses of the legislature.
She explained it to me like this in an email:
The idea for this bill originated when I asked local docs who treat Lyme disease what kinds of changes to laws would help them. In New Hampshire, because a previous rep was sick with Lyme disease, we are allowed to prescribe antibiotics for long-term (and it’s covered by insurance). However, insurance would only cover 18 rounds of IV antibiotic therapy even if a doc thinks more is needed. This bill changes that and allows the doc to prescribe as she feels necessary and the insurance will now cover it.
The measure now heads to the desk of Governor Chris Sununu. Will he sign it into law? That remains to be seen. Stay tuned.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s Vice-president and Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you who are asking why Wisconsin doesn’t do something like this, please understand that an undertaking like this might drag on for years so it requires an unwavering tenacity and commitment. Most of us are patients who can not handle a lot of stress. Politics is stressful, and watchdogging bill language particularly so.
Those experienced in this type of work tell me that bill language can and often changes in the eleventh hour which can make things much, much worse not only for patients but especially for the doctors who are treating Lyme/MSIDS appropriately. The last thing we need is for those committed doctors to have even more to contend with than they already do.
Ideally, conferring with treating doctors AND those with bill experience would ensure a bill of this nature wouldn’t go side-ways.