On June 15, 2022, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation into law requiring insurance and managed health plans to provide coverage for continuous glucose monitors, an essential tool for diabetes care. SB2969 expands safe and affordable treatment options for thousands of Illinoisans. Continuous glucose monitors are essential devices for patients with both Type I and Type II diabetes to maintain safe blood sugar levels and prevent the need for emergency medical care. The bill was signed at Lurie Children’s Hospital, a major endocrinology center that treats thousands of diabetic patients each year.
“No one—regardless of their socioeconomic status or insurance coverage—should go without the care they require,” said Governor Pritzker. “But for too long, diabetics have had to make the impossible choice between obtaining this necessary medical equipment or putting food on the table. That is an unacceptable burden to ask diabetics to bear, and this legislation will ensure insurance companies support these essential devices and those that use them”
More than 1.3 million Illinoisans suffer from diabetes. Continuous glucose monitors track blood sugar throughout the day, allowing up-to-the-minute data for patients to use when assessing diet or the need for insulin. Although diabetes is a manageable disease, the tools to monitor and control the disease are essential for that management to be successful. Failure to treat elevated or decreased blood sugar levels can result in serious illness for patients, often requiring expensive emergency care and hospitalization.
Diabetes disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities, further exacerbating the equity gap caused by high-cost monitoring devices. CDC data shows Black, Hispanic, and Native American Illinoisans are all at a higher risk of getting diabetes. This legislation ensures the most at-risk Illinoisans cannot be denied coverage that is desperately needed to stay healthy and prevent further medical complications.
Governor Pritzker has codified several other insurance expansions into law during his time in office to expand access to necessary healthcare that has been neglected or gone uncovered by insurance providers in the past. Legislation signed by the Governor has required insurance coverage for prostate cancer and breast cancer screenings, naloxone, prophylactic AIDS medicine, over-the-counter birth control, and more. Governor Pritzker also signed an executive order during the COVID-19 pandemic requiring telehealth be covered at the same rate as in-person care, codifying that protection into law in 2021.
“This is a development in science that should be available to help people better regulate their diabetes,” said State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “Glucose monitoring systems should be covered the same as other medical equipment. Today we are taking a positive toward making these devices more accessible.”
“No person with diabetes should have to worry about being able to afford monitoring their blood sugar,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “Diabetes patients should not be treated differently than anyone else. We need to be doing all that we can to ensure that we are providing affordable health care to all.”
“The signing of SB 2969 is another example of Illinois leading the fight for those in our communities who need it the most,” said State Rep. Kambium Buckner (D-Chicago). “Glucose monitors provide users with important information about their blood sugar levels and can literally be the difference between life and death. Removing barriers like this brings us closer to our goal of complete healthcare equity that serves all of the people of Illinois.”
“Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago commends Governor Pritzker, Senator Julie Morrison and Representative Suzanne Ness for passing and signing into law legislation that will improve access to Continuous Glucose Monitor devices for Illinois children and families afflicted with diabetes,” stated Dr. Naomi Fogel, Medical Director of the Diabetes Program at Lurie Children’s. “Children and families with access to Continuous Glucose Monitors have improved health outcomes, reducing their risk for Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations and future complications.”
“The American Diabetes Association applauds Senator Julie Morrison for sponsoring SB 2969 and Governor Pritzker for signing it into law today,” said Gary Dougherty, Director of State Government Affairs for the Association. “Advances in diabetes technology are changing lives. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) provides glucose readings every few minutes, allowing for improved monitoring and management of diabetes. By requiring state-regulated health plans to cover CGMs, even more people will have affordable access to this technology which can lower their risk for dangerous complications of diabetes.”
“On behalf of the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging, we thank Governor Pritzker for signing Senate Bill 2969. This legislation will help more older adults and their caregivers to access real-time glucose data monitoring to better manage their diabetes and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations. We would also like to thank Senator Morrison and Representative Ness for their leadership on this issue that will improve the health of seniors and all Illinoisans,” said Marla Fronczak, President of the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
“This important new law will help people suffering from diabetes stay healthy. We thank Governor Pritzker for signing this important law and Senator Julie Morrison and Representative Suzanne Ness for getting it through the General Assembly,” said Dr. Rodney Alford, President-Elect Illinois State Medical Society.