Pennsylvania House passes bill for full Lyme disease coverage


The Pennsylvania legislature has moved legislation that would require health insurers to cover long-term treatments for Lyme disease.

The state House of Representatives approved House Bill 629 this week by a vote of 158-34, sending the measure to the Senate for consideration.

The proposal by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest) would require insurers to cover treatment plans for Lyme disease and related tick-borne illnesses as prescribed by a health care provider, regardless of whether the treatment plan includes short-term or long-term antibiotic treatment. 

In her bill, Rapp wrote that a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 39 percent of people with Lyme disease were treated using short-term antibiotics, while the majority was treated for longer periods.

From 1990 to 2017, Pennsylvania reported 116,824 confirmed cases of Lyme disease and in 2017 reported 11,900 new cases, ranking the state highest in the nation in confirmed cases for the last seven years.

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