SPRINGFIELD (WSIL) — Governor J.B. Pritzker signed two new laws expanding insurance coverage for children whose allergies require live-saving EpiPens and Illinoisans suffering from Lyme disease.
“This legislation takes a big step forward in protecting our children and families,” said Governor J.B. 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.”
House Bill 889
Gov. Pritzker signed House Bill 889 today, which requires insurance companies to cover office visits, testing and treatment for tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. Taking effect immediately, 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
The governor also signed House Bill 3435 on Friday, which requires insurance companies to cover epinephrine injectors, most commonly prescribed as 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. The law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
“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.”
“I want to thank Governor Pritzker and members of the General Assembly for bringing Illinois to the forefront on food allergy safety and prevention,” said Rep. Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook). “Along with improving the labeling of foods, we will now ensure that children in this state have access to lifesaving medication. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and look forward to continuing this important work.”