MA House Includes Linsky Provision to Provide Treatment Coverage for Lyme Disease Sufferers
M A S S A C H U S E T T S H O U S E OF R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133
REPRESENTATIVE DAVID P. LINSKY
5TH MIDDLESEX DISTRICT
STATE HOUSE, ROOM 146
For Immediate Release: April 27, 2016
For More Information: Katelyn Kelly (617) 722-2575
House Includes Linsky Provision to Provide Treatment Coverage for Lyme Disease Sufferers
BOSTON – The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted today to include an amendment filed by Representative David P. Linsky (D-Natick) which requires that insurance companies provide coverage for Lyme disease treatment as prescribed by licensed physicians. The provision is included in the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) budget passed by the House.
“I would like to thank House Speaker Robert DeLeo for his support of this important issue,” stated Representative Linsky. “Lyme disease is truly an epidemic that continues to spread across the Commonwealth at an alarming rate. This is an important first step in helping to give access to treatment for the thousands who suffer in Massachusetts every year.”
Some health insurers had expressed financial concerns about the measure, but an independent study of the analysis by the Center for Health Insurance Analysis (CHIA) showed that it would cost no more than thirteen cents per policy. The measure does not require any specific type of treatment, but requires that health insurance policies provide coverage. Some patients have accrued bills of over $50,000, which was not covered by insurance.
Lyme disease now afflicts more than 300,000 people per year; making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States. Hundreds of Massachusetts residents continue to leave the Commonwealth to receive treatment from out-of-state Lyme specialists while many more have experienced extreme financial hardship by following the course of treatment prescribed by their doctor which is often not covered by insurance.
Representative Linsky serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, which issued a report in 2011 calling for the creation of a Massachusetts Lyme Disease Commission. Representative Linsky additionally served as the one of Speaker DeLeo’s appointments to this Commission. The Commission upon completion of its research, recommended legislation mandating health insurance coverage for long-term treatment of tick-borne illnesses in their final report in February of 2013.
The House passed the FY17 budget today and it is now sent to the Senate for consideration. The measure will also require the signature of Governor Charlie Baker.
Sheila M. Statlender, Ph.D.
53 Langley Road – Suite 330
Newton Centre, MA 02459