Should this bill pass, it would mean that patients struggling with this condition will benefit from continued coverage.
Lyme disease insurance isn’t necessarily something that people are always talking about, but it is an issue that becomes tremendously important to the millions of people who are afflicted with this tick-borne illness.
In Massachusetts, this bill is currently being battled out between patient advocates and insurance companies.
The Lyme disease insurance bill is certainly controversial. If it should pass, it would require long-term insurance coverage for patients who are experiencing the chronic symptoms of the disease, which affects thousands of people throughout the state with every new year. The disease is not only often difficult to diagnose, but it also comes with a broad spectrum of different kinds of symptoms and effects. These can be highly costly to the patients and can be financially detrimental.
There have been many reports of people without Lyme disease insurance who have remortgaged their homes.
These individuals are simply too sick to be able to keep up a steady job and find themselves not only without an income but also facing expenses related to treating the various symptoms. According to Trish McCleary, an advocate for Lyme disease patients and a former Massachusetts Lyme Disease Commission member, “We’ve got people remortgaging their homes. They’re too sick to work.” She believes that if this bill passes, it is “going to put people back to work. It’s going to save lives.”
The bill, entitled “An Act Relative to Lyme Disease Treatment Coverage,” has been filed in the Senate and in the House. It would require that the mandatory coverage for the condition be lengthened in a significant way. Currently, the required insurance coverage is for two to four weeks of antibiotics. The bill calls for treatment regimens that would extend as long as a doctor deems them to be necessary.
Rep. David Linsky and Senator Anne Gobi have sponsored the Lyme disease insurance legislation, which also boasts 140 co-sponsors and is expected to be decided upon this week. This comes at a time in which the state has reached the second highest incidence of this disease in the United States.