State lawmakers Davidson, Davis introduce legislation to protect people who carry life-saving medication
HARRISBURG, Oct. 21 – State Reps. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, and Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, introduced Lloyd’s Law Wednesday. The bill would end the practice of permitting insurance companies to deny coverage because family members, social workers and other Pennsylvania residents carry or at one time carried the life-saving medication naloxone in attempt to prevent fatal opioid overdoses of others.
The law is named after Lloyd Andrew White, a Delaware County resident who died at the age of 26 after a nearly decade-long battle with addiction. White’s mother, Sharon White, was denied life insurance coverage based on the fact she carried naloxone. Naloxone, also called by its brand name Narcan, can reverse otherwise fatal opioid overdoses and it can be administered without any previous medical training.
“When Sharon White informed me of this serious problem, I knew I had to act to bring a solution for her family and countless others,” Davidson said. “A mother should never be penalized for carrying the medication needed to save a life – especially when that life is the life of her own child.”
Insurance companies have denied coverage based on a person’s access to naloxone, even if the person has no history of opioid use or addiction. While a regulation now exists to limit this practice, Lloyd’s Law – which will be introduced as H.B. 2950 – would eliminate the possibility of this happening in the future.
“This loophole doesn’t just affect family members,” Davis said. “Many counselors and social workers also carry naloxone because they do not know when they will encounter an individual who is overdosing. We cannot penalize the heroes in our community who are frontline mental health care workers for trying to save lives.”
Lloyd’s Law, H.B. 2950, would not allow insurance companies to deny coverage solely because a person carries naloxone or has had access to naloxone in the past as a measure to save a loved one’s life.
“Every 11 minutes in this country a person dies from an opioid overdose,” Davidson said, citing a finding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. “In the third decade of our fight against the opioid epidemic, our communities are in the struggle to save lives, and we cannot afford to make residents, workers, fathers and mothers choose between saving a life or having access to insurance coverage.”
Lloyd’s Law has the support of the statewide coalition of drug and alcohol abuse prevention, education and treatment programs, practitioners, employee-assistance programs, counselors, addiction professionals, and drug and alcohol associations.
“The Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of Pennsylvania wholeheartedly endorses Representative Margo Davidson’s proposal to end discrimination in insurance coverage when family members or friends purchase Narcan,” said Deb Beck, president of DASPOP. “Pennsylvanians should be encouraged, not discouraged, to purchase and carry Narcan to save the lives of family members and others.
“Under no circumstances should citizens of Pennsylvania be penalized for taking this important and responsible public health step.”
Taking office in the PA House in 2010, Davidson is celebrating a decade of service with proven results. Davidson is the first African American woman to be elected leader of the 35-member Pennsylvania House of Representatives Democratic Southeast Delegation – the largest Democratic delegation in the House. Her election as delegation chair marked the latest in firsts for Davidson, who was also the first Democratic woman elected to the state House from Delaware County. She chairs the Democratic Women’s Caucus and is co-chair of the bipartisan Ladies of the House Caucus.