NAPERVILLE, Ill. – To expand access to life-saving preventative diabetes screenings for Illinois residents, state Rep. Janet Yang Rohr, D-Naperville, recently passed legislation to require insurers to cover important tests for people with or at risk of developing diabetes.
“Diabetes can be life-threatening if it goes untreated, but we know that it can be preventable for some individuals if they have the necessary healthcare access,” said Yang Rohr. “Early detection and important preventative measures and tests have shown positive outcomes in reducing the number of people who get diagnosed with diabetes, so we must ensure that these preventative tests are accessible for all individuals to live a long and healthy life.”
According to the CDC, the A1C test, also known as the hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test, is a simple blood test that measures a person’s average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months and is one of the most used tests to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. Yang Rohr is the chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1854, which would require insurers to cover A1C and vitamin D tests that are recommended by health care providers for people who may have or have prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
According to the National Council for State Legislators, nearly 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, equal to 9.3 percent of the total population as of 2014. An estimated additional 86 million adults age 20 and older have “pre-diabetes,” a condition that still can be halted. In Illinois, approximately 1.3 million adults have diabetes, but roughly 341,000 of those don’t know they have diabetes, according to the Illinois Department of Health. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death nationally and in Illinois.
“Thousands of Illinois residents suffer from diabetes, and we can hopefully reduce that number going forward with better access to affordable preventative health screenings like the A1c blood test,” said Yang Rohr. “I am proud to be taking on this issue as part of our greater fight in ensuring that all Illinoisans are aware of the risk factors and early symptoms of diabetes and reducing healthcare costs and increasing accessibility as a whole.”
Yang Rohr’s measure passed unanimously out of both the House and Senate and will be sent to the Governor’s desk for consideration.