On Wednesday, February 28th, New Mexico joined 17 other states across the country in passing legislation to curb step therapy. Senate Bill 11, which was signed into law by New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, reforms the process that forces patients to try drugs that insurance companies choose, making patients “fail first” before the patient gets to use the medicine that their doctor originally prescribed.
Step therapy is an insurance practice that requires patients to use a lower-cost drug before permitting more expensive drugs – regardless of what your doctor prescribed. This may occur even if you are already taking that pricier medication and doing well on it. Senate Bill 11 placed limits on this practice and helps get the right medicine to patients faster.
The Arthritis Foundation is thrilled that additional patient protections now exist in New Mexico and thank all legislators, specifically bill sponsors Senators Liz Stefanics, Gay Kernan and Representatives Liz Thomson, Monica Youngblood, and the governor for their support of this important bill.
The Arthritis Foundation was part of a coalition in New Mexico that was made up of approximately 25 patient and provider groups. Arthritis Foundation Advocates played an instrumental role by testifying on the bill and being featured in the Albuquerque Journal.
Katelyn, a special education teacher from Albuquerque, has rheumatoid arthritis. She testified on this bill as she wants the treatment plan to continue to be between her and her doctor. You can read more about Katelyn’s story in an Albuquerque Journal article.
Shanna, who has severe rheumatoid arthritis, wrote a letter to the editor in the Albuquerque Journal, and testified this session about her step therapy experiences. She was forced to take an older, less expensive medication that was not recommended by her rheumatologist but was required by her insurance company. She had to then endure unnecessary pain for upwards of 9 months before the recommended medication was finally approved.
Both Katelyn and Shanna were ecstatic that this bill was signed into law by Governor Martinez.
Katelyn shares: “As a special education teacher, I need to be “on” all the time for the students who need a stable presence in their lives. I can’t afford to lose time with my students due to bad side effects from the wrong medication. Thank you for signing this bill into law!”
Shanna says, “I am thankful that others won’t have to go through the same ordeal that I did now that New Mexico passed this bill into law. Thank you for your dedication to New Mexico patients!”
You can learn more about advocacy and amplifying your voice by becoming an Arthritis Foundation Advocate! Sign up today!