State Advocacy Recap for Q3 2021

The third quarter of 2021 has ended so we wanted to take a moment to recap some great victories and opportunities still available for Advocates to take action. Thank you to every single Advocate who has taken action on bills in 2021. Each action from you helps us get one step closer to another victory!

Victories

The first victory that we are proud to report is the most recent. On October 9th (yes, technically in Quarter 4, but we are too excited to wait), California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 347 into law. The Arthritis Foundation has been the leader of this effort, which has more than 70 organizations working together, for several years and we are very proud to see the Governor sign this important bill. Assembly Bill 347 will health insurance plans will now be required to expeditiously grant requests for step therapy exceptions by establishing a set of standard exceptions to the protocol. It also builds upon previously enacted timeframes to establish a timeframe for step therapy and prior authorization requests that the insurer deemed to be “incomplete.” These and other new protections will ensure that health insurance plans operate with expediency and transparency to receive all the information they need to make determinations in a timely manner. This effort has been led in the legislature by Assembly Joaquin Arambula.

In North Carolina, we saw yet another state enact legislation to protect patients from accumulator adjustment programs. This makes SEVEN states that have enacted legislation to ensure that all copays count in 2021. Senate Bill 257 was championed by Senators Jim Perry and J.R Britt, alongside 13 other co-sponsors. This bill originally did not contain accumulator adjustment program language but due to great work from Advocates in the state, the language was added to the bill in the North Carolina House. This important bill was signed by Governor Roy Cooper on September 20th.

The next victory took place in Arizona. Championed by Senator Nancy Barto, who also championed a victory on accumulator adjustment programs in 2019, SB 1270 will put in place guardrails on step therapy. Signed by Governor Doug Ducey on July 9th, this bill had amazing support from Arthritis Foundation Advocates over the past several sessions!

On August 16th, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 1745 which will help patients afford and plan for the costs of their medications. Specifically, this bill ensures that insurers offer a portion of their plans which have flat dollar co-pays rather than a co-insurance (a percentage of the medication cost and thus harder to plan for the cost and typically more expensive). This important bill was championed by House Majority Leader Greg Harris and co-sponsored by 51 legislators.

One Down, One to Go

There are several bills that have already passed one of their respective Legislative Chambers and just need to pass their second chamber to get to the Governor’s desk!

Michigan accumulator adjustment program bill, House Bill 4353, passed the House of Representatives on March 24th by a vote of 98-9! This bill is championed by Representative Bronna Kahle and cosponsored by 16 members of the MI legislature. Take action now!

New Jersey step therapy bill, Assembly Bill 4815, passed the Assembly by a vote of 65-1. The Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 3051, is making its way through the Senate. A 4815 is championed by Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Assemblyman Dan Benson, and Assemblyman Antony Verrelli. S 3051 is championed by Senator Joe Vitale and Senator Dawn Addiego. Take action now!

Moving to the 4th Quarter

Don’t miss out on your last chance to take action on state activity in 2021 during the 4th quarter! It’s the perfect time to visit the action center.

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