CHICAGO, Ill. (WMBD) — Gov. JB Pritzker was joined by lawmakers, medical staff, and patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital to sign a bill requiring all insurance plans to cover continuous glucose monitors and other necessary lab work for all patients with diabetes in Illinois.
Pritzker was joined by several young patients who benefit from these devices. Lurie Children’s Hospital has one of the largest pediatric endocrinology department in the country, treating more than 2,000 patients annually.
Glucose monitors are essential to the preventative care for people with diabetes that replace the need for finger pricks and continuous blood checks. If not covered by a patient’s insurance, these devices can be very expensive.
By requiring coverage for monitors, Pritzker said that no Illinoisans will have to choose between paying for necessary medical devices or paying for groceries or rent.
“We aren’t just increasing access to preventative care; we are improving the quality of life,” said Pritzker. “No patient should go without access to their medicine, devices, or procedures that they need to survive and thrive.”
Continuous glucose monitors, or CGMs, are particularly beneficial to children, elderly patients, and other patients with caregivers, because the monitors can alert parents and caregivers of impending dangerous glucose levels. These alarms can be set up on a remote device, a smartphone, and even a smart watch.
“The ability to receive the alarms, regardless of where the child is–school, on the sports field, or at a sleepover–gives parents significant peace of mind,” said Dr. Naomi Fogel, Lurie Children’s Hospital’s diabetes program medical director.
State House and Senate sponsors of the bill joined Pritzker to celebrate the bill signing, including House sponsor Rep. Suzanne Ness (D-Chicago), Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), and Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago). All agreed that access to these devices will lead to improved health outcomes for patients and families.
“This is an example of making life easier for working class Illinoisans,” said Peters. “If you make it easier for [diabetic children] to go to school and be with their friends, you make it easier for them to be in the community. You are going to give them a safer and better life.”
Under Pritzker’s administration, laws have been introduced to require insurance coverage for other healthcare products, including naloxone, prenatal care, cancer prevention and screenings, telehealth, and more. Pritzker says it is his mission to make Illinois a trendsetter for healthcare standards in other states.
The importance of this bill was said best by Talia Schinasi, age 9, a type 1 diabetic from Sen. Peters’ district.
“Nobody really deserves finger pokes,” said Talia. “Just let us be kids.”