Senate passes Lawson’s bill requiring insurance coverage for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today passed legislation (2022-S 2203A) sponsored by Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) which would require insurance coverage for the treatment of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections and pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome.
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.
“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 Senator Lawson.
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 legislation now heads to the House where Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) introduced the legislation (2022-H 7503A), which was passed by the House on May 18.