Category Archives: News

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! 

 

 

Arthritis 101 Hill Briefing Introduces a New Congress to Arthritis and the Military

On February 13, 2019, dozens of Capitol Hill staffers joined the Arthritis Foundation, the American College of Rheumatology and other patient organizations for a special Arthritis 101 briefing on arthritis and the military. Approximately one in every three U.S. veterans has doctor-diagnosed arthritis, while the general population stands at one in four, about 25 percent. Continue reading Arthritis 101 Hill Briefing Introduces a New Congress to Arthritis and the Military

Step Therapy Reform Moves Ahead in Georgia

On Wednesday, January 23, a group of Georgia Advocates gathered at the state capitol building to talk to legislators about step therapy reform. The event was attended by Advocates from across the state,including a mother and daughter who drove from three hours away to talk about the challenges they’ve faced getting access to their medications. The day included a visit from the bill sponsor, Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-43), a brief overview of current step therapy practices and role playing, as well as meetings with some of Georgia’s legislators.

Our Advocates talked to legislators about step therapy, which is an insurance practice that requires patients to use a lower-cost drug before permitting more expensive treatments, despite a physician’s recommendation. Rep. Cooper shared with our Advocates that her bill will create guardrails, allowing a physician to override a step therapy request if the requested medication will negatively react with a medication the patient is already taking, or if the patient has previously tried and failed that drug.

The bill has just been introduced and will go through the Georgia House and Senate chambers for review and votes. Please take a moment to take action by reaching out to your legislators and asking them to support step therapy reform in Georgia.

 

 

 

 

 

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Medicare Advantage

TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series Medicare Advantage Plan Change Coming in 2019

Considering a Medicare Advantage plan for 2019?

An important change is coming that you should know about!

The administration recently released guidance that allows Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to use step therapy. This is new for next year and a few health insurers have already said they will institute the policy. In this week’s Take Care blog, we break down the issue to help you make the best choice during open enrollment season. Remember: Medicare open enrollment has already started and continues through December 7. Read on to get the scoop on this change to Medicare Advantage plans.

Continue reading TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series Medicare Advantage Plan Change Coming in 2019