Why oxygen therapy for Lyme disease is not covered by insurance

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – An ABC27 report on using oxygen therapy in a hyperbaric chamber to treat Lyme disease got more than 165,000 hits and more than 1,100 shares on our Facebook page. The treatment is not covered by insurance and many viewers wanted to know why.

Pennsylvania has 12,000 reported cases of Lyme, the highest number in the country. That’s twice as many as New York, which has the second highest number of cases. Yet oxygen therapy to treat Lyme, which costs $1,000 a week at the Lombard Center in Columbia, Lancaster County, is not covered by insurance.

Julia Wagner is with Pennsylvania Lyme. She says oxygen therapy isn’t covered by insurance because it’s considered an experimental treatment.

“It hasn’t been studied specifically for Lyme disease, so the evidence base just isn’t there and that is always going to be a reason to deny it as an option,” Wagner said. “Somebody has to do a study and it has to be rigorous and they have to prove that it actually does have positive outcomes.”

Oxygen therapy did have a positive outcome for Samantha Perry of Cumberland County. She suffered from Lyme for a few years and now feels 100 percent better.

Her mother, Carrie Perry, has become a Lyme disease warrior. She’s committed to getting the word out about Lyme and is not surprised that people are thirsty for more information.

“People need to be heard. When you start putting out on mainstream media that Lyme is actually real because people are seeking treatment, it validates people,” Perry said.

Perry works with Project Lyme. On Saturday, March 3, she’s hosting the second annual “Tick Talk, A Conversation about Lyme.” It’s an all-day seminar about Lyme at the West Shore Country Club.

You can register at www.projectlyme.org.

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