PROVIDENCE — On consecutive days last week, both chambers of the General Assembly passed legislation to require insurance coverage for the treatment of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric …
PROVIDENCE — On consecutive days last week, both chambers of the General Assembly passed legislation to require insurance coverage for the treatment of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders sponsored in the House (2022-H 7503A) by Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) and in the Senate (2022-S 2203A) by Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence).
Each bill now moves to the other chamber for consideration. Gov. Dan McKee is expected to sign the bill into law once it's reconciled by both bodies.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children may be diagnosed with pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) when obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tic disorder, or both suddenly appear following a streptococcal (strep) infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. The symptoms are usually dramatic, happen “overnight and out of the blue,” and can include motor or vocal tics or both and obsessions, compulsions, or both. In addition to these symptoms, children may become moody or irritable, experience anxiety attacks, or show concerns about separating from parents or loved ones.
“PANDAS can be extremely alarming and scary for children and their families, often leading them to a place of confusion, stress and anxiety. This bill will ensure that the necessary treatments are available to children and families affected by PANDAS without forcing them to cover the costs out of pocket, providing the health and financial relief that these families deserve,” said Rep. Amore.
The bill would require that every group health insurance contract, or every group hospital or medical expense insurance policy, plan, or group policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state, by any health insurance carrier, on or after January 1, 2023, shall provide coverage for treatment of PANDAS and pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome, including, but not limited to, the use of intravenous immunoglobin therapy.
“The stress and uncertainty that arises with PANDAS can be extremely challenging for children and their families. When compounded with treatment costs after a diagnosis is made, families who are affected by PANDAS are in need of serious help and support. This bill will make sure that children suffering from PANDAS get the medical help they need while also protecting the wallets and pocketbooks of their families,” said Sen. Lawson.