All posts by Arthritis Foundation

Out-of-Pocket Costs: An Out-of-this-World Problem

Let’s face it: out-of-pocket costs for patients with chronic diseases like arthritis are consuming an ever-growing share of household spending. Lowering drug prices has been a central priority of Congress and the Administration this year, and while a lot of attention is paid to drug companies and insurers, the impact on the patient often gets lost. There may be a lot of chatter about list prices, rebates, and other technical terms, but at the end of the day the health care price that matters most to patients is the one coming out of their own pocket. Continue reading Out-of-Pocket Costs: An Out-of-this-World Problem

How Gaye Jacques Is Making Arthritis a Priority in the 2020 Election

New Hampshire is one of a handful of states with a special fifth season — Primary Candidate Visit Season. Gaye Jacques decided to take advantage of it by trying to meet as many of the Democrat primary candidates as she possibly could, bringing their attention to the barriers to care people with arthritis face every day. Continue reading How Gaye Jacques Is Making Arthritis a Priority in the 2020 Election

Safe Step Act Needs Your Support

Read about what step therapy put a young arthritis patient through.

My name is Sophie Sherman, and I am a rising high school senior from Brookline, Massachusetts. When I was 11, my parents started to notice that I wasn’t acting like myself. Instead of spending time with my friends after school, I would take four-hour-long naps on the living room sofa. Instead of asking for seconds on pasta night, I would barely touch my plate. It seemed like everything I did, be it physical or mental, consumed every ounce of my energy. Continue reading Safe Step Act Needs Your Support

Advocates Gather in Harrisburg to Advocate for Patient Protections

In Pennsylvania, we’re working on legislation to streamline patient access to care. And we can’t do it alone. On June 5, Arthritis Foundation Advocates traveled to Harrisburg for a state legislative day. They shared their stories with legislators and asked for support on two important bills. Continue reading Advocates Gather in Harrisburg to Advocate for Patient Protections

Delaware Governor Signs Step Therapy Bill Into Law

It was a historic day for Delaware residents as Gov. John Carney signed the state’s step therapy legislation into law.

Sometimes referred to as “fail first,” step therapy is a process insurance companies use to require patients to try and fail on their preferred drugs before getting the medication originally prescribed by their doctor. This can happen in the middle of a plan year, even if a patient is currently stable on the medication.

Arthritis Foundation Advocates came to the Statehouse to help pass this legislation. Carol Reilly, chair of the Foundation’s state advocacy committee, testified at both the House and Senate hearings. “Step therapy is an important issue for me and for the people of Delaware,” she said. “Too many patients are required to fail on a drug before they get the medication their prescriber thinks is best for them. This new law will help put care back into the hands of the doctors.”

Advocate Kirsti Bonaquisti personally met with over 10 legislators to share her arthritis story. She helped convince legislators to vote in favor of the bill. Her personal experience with step therapy made her want to speak out so that no other patient would go through what she went through.

Championed by Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Poore, this legislation passed unanimously in both chambers. As a nurse, Rep. Minor-Brown had the personal experience of seeing patients go through step therapy. That experience made this bill more than just another piece of legislation.

We’re grateful to these Advocates and so many others who helped make this legislation a reality. You can take action, just like Carol and Kirsti did, to help us with our federal step therapy legislation. Send a message to your legislator today through our Action Center. You can modify your message and add in your personal experience or send the message we’ve written for you. It’s just that simple! Click here for more information! 

 

 

New Step Therapy Reform Law in Oklahoma

The Arthritis Foundation is happy to announce that the Oklahoma legislature passed a new law this month that will protect Oklahomans who are living with arthritis.

The new OK law will reform step therapy. Also known as “fail first,” step therapy is a process that forces patients to try and fail drugs that insurance companies choose before the patient gets to use the medicine their doctor originally prescribed. This may occur even if you are already taking a medication and doing well on it.

Oklahoma Junior Ambassador and AFJROTC member, Brianna Sommers, attended the Arthritis Foundation’s February Legislative Day and was instrumental in passing the step therapy reform bill.

“We did not know at the time of my first diagnosis that step therapy would be the cause of the majority of my pain.

“I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia at age 9. I went through years of my doctors having to make me try and fail multiple drugs, due to step therapy practices.

“Doctors are the medical experts and allowing an insurance company to control what medications a physician is able to prescribe is life-threatening. When I heard about the OK step therapy reform bill, I knew I needed to get involved. I needed to not only do it for myself, but I also needed to help others like me.

“I was a part of a group of kids who had cancer, disorders and other life-threatening illnesses, and I thought about how many of those kids were being asked to take unnecessary medications and procedures due to step therapy. When you are dealing with children, sometimes time is of the essence. I’m just glad I could make a difference.” 
–Brianna Sommers, Junior Ambassador from Choctaw

Senate Bill 509 places limits on step therapy and helps get the right medicine to patients faster. The new law was introduced by Sen. Dave Rader and Reps. Cyndi Munson and Jon Echols, and we are so appreciative of their leadership. This is a major victory for all Oklahoma Advocates. Let’s keep up our momentum!

Help us raise awareness about the importance of step therapy reform at the federal level. Ask your member of Congress to support the Safe Step Act. Take action today!

For more information about how to get involved with advocacy in Oklahoma, please contact Kristen Crawford at kcrawford@arthritis.org