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New law extends insurance coverage for those with Lyme disease

A bill signed into law Governor J.B. Pritzker earlier this month will help cover the medical needs of those living with Lyme disease.

Pritzker signs law expanding insurance coverage for Lyme Disease treatment, Epipens

The bill, sponsored by 74th Dist. Republican State Rep. Daniel Swanson, will require private-pay insurance to cover the medical costs associated with Lyme disease.

“Lyme patients once they are coded as being a Lyme patient once treated with those 21 days of antibiotics their insurance will stop paying for their Lyme coverage. So we thought ‘we have to do something’,” Swanson said.

“[People] were losing their homes, they were losing their businesses. I spoke with people just this week that say they have insurance bills of $78,000.”

The disease is transmitted from deer-tick bites but has not-specific symptoms other than a bulls-eye rash only about 1 in 3 people actually get.

“You’ll pass it off as the flu generalized aches and pains, maybe a little bit of a fever maybe a little bit of a headache,” Dr. James Ausfahl, M.D. said.

Ausfahl refers to Lyme disease as a great imitator when it comes to symptoms.

“You can get changes in your heart rhythm, you can get droopiness in the face, damage to other nerves. The big one is it attacks your joints they’ll get red they’ll get swollen,” he explained.

The best way to avoid needing to get medical attention is by taking precaution.

“If you’re going to be out in the woods, DEET, permethrin or it’s equivalent, Even a eucalyptus oil will do. When you come back from the woods shower inspect yourself for still adhering ticks,” Ausfahl said.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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