ILLINOIS (WAND) – Insurance companies in Illinois will be required to cover EpiPens for children after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill into law.
House Bill 3435 will mandate EpiPen coverage for people 18 years old or younger with severe allergies. The cost of a two-pen injector pack can be close to $700 for families after prices rose by over 400 percent in the last decade, according to a release from the governor’s office. HB 3435 takes effect on Jan. 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.”
The governor also signed House Bill 889, which mandates insurance coverage for office visits, testing and treatment related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. The law will aim at helping people affected by tick-borne diseases, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said heavily increased from 2004 to 2016. It takes effect immediately and is meant to help farmers who struggled to afford treatments.
“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.”
The governor said both new laws are needed in Illinois.
“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.”