On Wednesday evening, State Senator David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) celebrated a historic victory for child health care. Sen. Niezgodski’s proposal to require Indiana health insurance plans to cover the autoimmune diseases PANS and PANDAS was approved by both chambers and will now go to the governor’s desk. The PANS/PANDAS proposal was amended into House Bill (HB) 1372 last week after Sen. Niezgodski’s Senate Bill (SB) 311 failed to receive an initial hearing in the House.

“I am so thrilled that I can share with Hoosier families that we have given their children a second chance at life,” Sen. Niezgodski said. “This bill will truly save the lives of Hoosier kids. Families all across our state can now breathe a sigh of relief that their health insurance company cannot deny them coverage for PANS and PANDAS treatments. No longer will families go bankrupt or lose their homes because they can’t afford to treat their children who suffer from these disorders.

“I want to thank all the senators in this chamber who helped make this bill a reality. The bipartisan response to this important health care language has been remarkable. Most importantly, thank you to all those families who shared with us your experiences of caring for children who suffer from these diseases. Your testimony, stories, phone calls and letters helped keep this proposal alive to very end. Your voices have been heard, and we can celebrate in this victory together.”

If signed by the governor, HB 1372 would save families who must manage these diseases up to $25,000 in possible treatment costs. HB 1372 would also add Indiana to the list of five other states who require PANS and PANDAS to be covered by law.