State Rep. Jonathan Carroll Fighting to Require Insurance Companies to Cover EpiPens

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State Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, is demanding insurance companies cover lifesaving epinephrine injectors for children, advancing legislation out of a House committee.

“EpiPens are a lifeline for so many children with severe allergies, and it’s unthinkable that any child would be denied something that could save their life,” Carroll said. “An insurance plan that does not cover such a basic treatment is grossly inadequate and needs to be reformed to put children’s health before insurance company wealth.”

epinephrine autoinjector
a medical device for injecting a measured dose or doses of epinephrine (adrenaline) by means of autoinjector technology, and is most often used for the treatment of anaphylaxis. The first epinephrine autoinjector was brought to market in the 1980s.

Epinephrine is an important hormone or added medicine in the fight-or-flight response that increases blood flow to muscles, output of the heart, pupil dilation, and blood sugar. Epinephrine does this by its effects on alpha and beta receptors. Epinephrine is most important in the treatment of anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) by rapidly causing the opening of the airway, and optimizing cardiovascular function.

Carroll won unanimous approval for House Bill 3435 in the House Insurance Committee. His measure requires health care plans to cover the costs of epinephrine injectors, or EpiPens, for people who are 18 years old or younger. Epinephrine is a chemical used in an injector to help people handle anaphylaxis, which is a severe medical emergency that results in a patient breaking out in hives, drop in blood pressure, chest tightness and more.

The cost of an EpiPen without insurance can cost a family nearly $700 and typically has a shelf life of a little more than a year before the medicine needs to be restocked in stores.

“Insurance companies should remember that they have a responsibility to keeping people healthy and providing them the best products for their allergies or medical needs,” Carroll said. “I know what it is like to worry about a child’s well-being each and every day, and I am fighting to offer parents and their kids better health care so they know their insurance plans are finally working for them.”


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