Austin on successful push to mandate insurance coverage for PANDAS/PANS

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson), ranking minority member for the Indiana House Insurance committee, co-authored legislation that will require Indiana’s health insurance plans to cover PANDAS and PANS, which are autoimmune diseases that are triggered by infection in children. This is often misdiagnosed and leads to Tourette-like behavior that can become permanent if it is not treated in a timely manner.

The PANDAS/PANS language in House Enrolled Act 1327, which now awaits the Governor’s signature, was up for debate during a conference committee on Monday, and almost did not reach the House floor. It can originally be found in Senate Bill 311, authored by State Sen. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend), which was not given a hearing in the House.

“This won’t be the first mandate we’ve passed this year, and this one’s for children…” argued Austin during the bill’s conference committee this week. “I think in the court of public opinion, this one would be viewed very favorably.”

The new requirement has a very small fiscal impact for the state (under $150,000), but for families, it can cost up to $15,000-$25,000 to treat without the help of insurance.

“We don’t want Hoosiers to have to choose between paying their bills or paying for this vital preventative measure for their children,” Austin said. “This issue touches a lot of lives and I want to thank Sen. Niezgodski for not giving up on those families. I am very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement and are now able to offer this help to the families of our state.”

If the enrolled act is signed by Governor Holcomb, the mandate will be effective July 1, 2020.

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