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
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.
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.
Mark your calendars! This year’s Live Yes! Advocacy Summit will take place on March 11-12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. and it won’t be a success without your voices from across the country. Join us in the nation’s capitol and share your story with policymakers to break down barriers to care for people with arthritis.
On Thursday, February 1, the Arthritis Foundation and American College of Rheumatology (ACR) – along with seven other health advocacy organizations – will host a briefing on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to increase research funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to combat the nation’s leading cause of disability.
New data reveals the stunning impact of arthritis on the U.S. economy. Between 2003 and 2013, the annual cost of arthritis more than doubled and now totals $304 billion in direct and indirect costs, according to a CDC-sponsored study published in the September 2017 edition of Arthritis Care & Research. These figures include both higher medical costs to patients, as well as lost earnings from individuals who are unable to work due to their condition.
On Wednesday, December 20, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). There were several health-related changes included in the legislation, such as a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and changes to the medical expenditure tax deduction. Below we explain the key health provisions that made it into the final law, how it may impact you, and what’s next.
Let’s start with the individual mandate.
Continue reading Answering Your Questions About the New Tax Reform Legislation
On Thursday, October 12, 2017, the Administration took two actions on health care that could affect coverage for people who have health insurance through the exchanges.
President Trump signed an executive order that opens the door for the expansion of association health plans, which aren’t subject to the same level of patient protections as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Second, the Administration announced the discontinuation of cost-sharing reduction payments, which are payments to health insurers that help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low income people who purchase insurance on the health exchanges.
Read on to learn more about the Administration’s actions and their potential impacts on the arthritis community.
Exciting news in Texas! On May 23, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 680 into law, limiting the use of step therapy. Texas now joins a growing number of states that have enacted laws that regulate the use of step therapy. With over 4 million adults and 24,900 kids with doctor-diagnosed arthritis in Texas, this is a major victory!
Step therapy is used by health insurance providers to control the order and use of prescriptions drugs. A patient could be required to try and fail lower-cost or other drugs selected by their insurance provider before coverage is granted for the drug prescribed by the patient’s treating physician. For patients, this barrier to care prevents timely access to doctor prescribed treatments and can be the difference between full mobility and joint damage.
Continue reading Victory in Texas – Legislation Limits Step Therapy