Hammond-Sponsored Bill Requiring Insurance Coverage for Tick-Borne Diseases Signed into Law

Macomb – Last Tuesday, August 13th, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law legislation that requires insurance coverage for medical treatment of tick-borne diseases. State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) was a chief co-sponsor of the legislation.

“Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases can be detrimental to your health, if left untreated,” said Rep. Hammond. “The more time you spend outside, the more likely you are to develop Lyme disease, particularly in our state. This legislation will help those dealing with Lyme disease get the medical care they need to recover.”

The legislation, House Bill 889 (HB 889), requires insurance coverage for long-term antibiotic therapy and related medical care for a person with a tick-borne disease, such as Lyme disease. Insurance must also cover experimental drugs that are prescribed for Lyme disease treatment, if they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use.

HB 889 was inspired by Lauryn Russell, a Mercer County Jr. High School student. Due to state regulations at the time, Russell had to seek out-of-state treatment for her post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) or Chronic Lyme Disease. Advocates for Lyme disease sufferers say the current recommended treatment of the disease, 10 to 21 days of antibiotics, is insufficient for people with advanced or persistent levels of the disease. Russell’s personal story motivated State Representative Dan Swanson (R-Alpha) to write and pass the legislation to help those battling Lyme disease.

HB 889 passed the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate unanimously this past spring legislative session. The law takes effect on January 1, 2020.