Gov Rauner to Sign PANDA Bill on Tuesday, Requiring Health Insurers Provide Coverage for Rare Condition

Springfield — On Tuesday, Gov Rauner will sign HB-2721, making Illinois the first state in the nation to require health insurance companies, to cover the little known PANDA disorder that can cause severe reactions, in children and young adults, after they’ve had strep throat.

PANDAS is short for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.

For years the condition was unrecognized and even many in the medical field denied this was a medical condition.  Yet, overnight children could have seizures, or their personalities could suddenly change.   Parents were sometimes told their child would need to be institutionalized.  Others were advised this was a behavioral problem, that needed to be treated with psychologists.

The stress on parents of afflicted children was immense, as were the financial burdens, because no insurance firms would provide coverage for treatments of this disorder that was largely unknown.

In some children following a case of strep throat, the infection will go to the brain and cause a series of reactions that vary from one child to the next.   But if recognized and treated, the condition can often be cured.

Here from earlier this year, is our interview with two mothers, who were among those leading the fight to have Illinois require insurance companies to cover this condition.

They also wish to have Illinois be an example to others states, where many other families are combating PANDA in their children.  Yet these families have few resources to help them in their quest to have PANDA recognized as a condition.

The Illinois mothers behind the effort to get HB-2721 passed, are talking with families in other states, to have similar legislation passed that would require insurance companies cover the cost of treatments, which can save a child and a family from the high cost and extreme stress when they’re faced with this sudden affliction, that so few are aware exists.