Lyme disease treatment bill signed by governor

A new law will go into effect June 6 requiring health insurance providers to cover the expenses of long-term antibiotic therapy for patients suffering from Lyme disease.

Senate Bill 242 was passed by the West Virginia Legislature during their 2018 session and was signed into law on March 20.

The bill was pushed forward by Morgan County residents Eric and Linda Pritchard in their effort to make treatment better for Lyme sufferers. State Senator Charles Trump (R-Morgan) was the lead sponsor of the bill.

The Pritchards collected more than 1,000 signatures to push for the law and held educational sessions to bring attention to Lyme disease. They said the billwill help patients who have to undergo lengthy antibiotic treatments because their Lyme disease wasn’t detected early enough to be treated with a shorter course of medication.

The law says insurance companies “shall provide coverage for long-term antibiotic therapy for a patient with Lyme disease when determined to be medically necessary and ordered by a licensed physician after making a thorough evaluation of the patient’s symptoms, diagnostic test results, or response to treatment.”

The law also affects insurance companies who offer accident and sickness policies after January 1, 2019.