New Illinois law expands insurance coverage for continuous glucose monitors

Gov. JB Pritzker signs a bill into law requiring insurance and managed health plans to provide...
Gov. JB Pritzker signs a bill into law requiring insurance and managed health plans to provide coverage for continuous glucose monitors.(Mike Miletich)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 7:42 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - More than 1.3 million people in Illinois suffer from diabetes and have to track their blood sugar throughout the day. A bill signed into law Wednesday could help people get access to the latest technology, continuous glucose monitors, to check their blood sugar levels.

These glucose monitors are critical for people with Type I and Type II diabetes to prevent trips to the emergency room. The new law states health insurance, or managed health plans, must cover continuous glucose monitors (CGM) for diabetics in Illinois by Jan. 1, 2024.

“Parents will be able to send their children to soccer practice, slumber parties, and school field trips without worrying about an unknown dip in blood sugar,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “Our emergency rooms will see fewer diabetic emergencies, saving our state and our patients money in the long run.”

Pritzker and sponsors said the new monitors should be covered by insurance the same as any other medical equipment. They believe this law can also help high-risk diabetics from minority and low-income communities who often can’t afford the monitoring devices. Black, Hispanic, and Native American Illinoisans are all at higher risk of getting diabetes.

“While Illinois has capped the cost of insulin, it is only right that we include and make more affordable life-changing devices that improve a person’s quality of life,” said Rep. Suzanne Ness (D-Crystal Lake). “And Senate Bill 2969 does just that.”

The law ensures no person with diabetes can be denied coverage that could help them stay healthy and prevent other medical problems. The American Diabetes Association celebrated this plan becoming law and noted it will lower the risk for dangerous complications of diabetes.

“Advances in diabetes technology are changing lives,” said Gary Dougherty, the director of state government affairs for the American Diabetes Association. “Continuous glucose monitoring provides glucose readings every few minutes, allowing for improved monitoring and management of diabetes.”

The plan passed out of both chambers with strong bipartisan support this spring. Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) said no person with diabetes should have to worry about being able to afford the equipment to monitor their blood sugar.

“Seeing this signed into law is an important and necessary step to providing real public safety for every community and making sure that they have the healthcare that they need during times of serious crisis, pain, and fear,” Peters said.

The Legislative Black Caucus Senate Chair also said diabetes patients should not be treated differently than anyone else and the state needs to do everything possible to ensure there is affordable health care for all.

Pritzker signed the legislation with young diabetic patients from Lurie Children’s Hospital watching in excitement. One of those patients, 9-year-old Talia Schinasi, was able to talk about her personal experience and how she’ll benefit from the law. Talia already wears a CGM to monitor her blood sugar.

“It helps me because it’s really easy,” she said. “I don’t need to do finger pokes, which means using a needle to check my blood sugar many times a day. It helps my parents not worry about me because they could check my blood sugar themselves on the phone.”

Talia said the law is good because nobody deserves finger pokes and kids can just be kids.

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