Illinois to become first state to require insurance companies to cover cost of EpiPEns for kids

Starting January 1st, Illinois will become the first state to require insurance companies to cover the costs of EpiPens for children with severe allergies. It comes after a decade of rising EpiPen prices.

Posted: Aug 20, 2019 5:26 PM
Updated: Aug 21, 2019 9:55 AM

ROBINSON, Ill. (WTHI) - Illinois families will now be able to get their children life saving medication at a cheaper cost, thanks to a new bill.

House Bill 3435requires insurance companies to cover the cost of EpiPens for children 18-years-old and younger with severe allergies.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill last week.

It makes Illinois the first state in the country to pass the law to help children and families.

Grace Gower is in 8th grade at Nuttall Middle School in Robinson, Illinois.

She carries two EpiPens on her at all times.

Gower was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy when she was just three years old.

"I was three and I really wanted a peanut butter and jelly sand which, and that would've been the first time that I ever ate peanut butter. I ate it and I couldn't like even get it down, because I was just breaking out and my throat had already closed," said Gower.

A dose of epinephrine from an EpiPen can help save the life of someone who's going through anaphylactic shock.

That's why a law like this can help save these patients lives no matter their financial status.

"It's detrimental. I mean you have to have it. We have about 20 students in our district with epinephrine that have anaphylactic reactions without it, so it's life or death," said Cindy Rehmel.

Cindy Rehmel is one of the school nurses in the district.

She said this will not only benefit families at home, but also during the school day.

"By having those EpiPens readily available, and just knowing that if we needed to use one and needed another that it wouldn't be such a burden for those parents to provide that to us. It gives us a sense of relief knowing that our kids are protected," said Rehmel.

Although she has not had any serious reactions since she was a kid, Gower is always aware of her surroundings just in case.

"We still have one table that my friends and I always sit at and we just always clean if off before we sit down. They might not make it because your throat will close and you won't be able to breathe," said Gower.

The bill goes into effect January 1st.

It comes after a decade of rising EpiPen prices.

Article Comments

Terre Haute
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 42°
Robinson
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 42°
Indianapolis
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 42°
Rockville
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 37°
Casey
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 40°
Brazil
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 42°
Marshall
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 42°
Mostly sunny and warmer
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events