On June 2, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 203 (SB 203) into law! This important bill stops insurance plans from requiring patients to go through step therapy for their medication if they previously went through step therapy protocols with their current or former insurer.
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
We applaud Maryland Governor Larry Hogan for joining 28 other states in creating a pathway for the substitution of biologic medications with biosimilars by signing the Pharmacists – Substitution and Dispensing of Biological Products bill into law.
Biologics are life altering drugs for people with arthritis and are very complex products made with living cells. Because of this complexity they are expensive. Biosimilars, are a new class of drugs that are similar to biologics. They have the potential to lower medication costs.
Continue reading Victory for Maryland! Biosimilar Bill Signed by the Governor!
The Iowa arthritis community is celebrating Governor Branstad signing into law House File 233 on May 10, 2017.
The bill, unanimously passed by both chambers, puts limits on an insurance industry protocol known as step therapy which requires patients to try and fail medications identified by the insurance company before agreeing to cover medications prescribed by the treating physician. The bill will increase access to care for arthritis patients by limiting step therapy practices in Iowa.
Continue reading Victory in Iowa! Governor Branstad Signs into Law a Bill to Curb Step Therapy!
Congratulations D.C. Advocates! Because of your efforts, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Specialty Drug Copayment Limitation Act. In the law, “specialty drug” means a prescription drug that is prescribed for a person with a physical, behavioral, or developmental condition that may have no known cure, is progressive, or can be debilitating or fatal if left untreated or undertreated, such as multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and rheumatoid arthritis.
Continue reading The Nation’s Capital Caps the Out-of-Pocket Costs of Medications
Families, physicians and patients gathered in Harrisburg, PA on March 28 to learn more about potential legislation that could affect access to care and meet with their legislators to enlist their help. They shared their stories with legislators and asked them to cosponsor the prior authorization bill and the copay cap bill. It was an impactful day of relationship building using personal stories to communicate the urgent need for support and passage of these bills.
Continue reading 35 Attend Capitol Day in Pennsylvania Advocating for Prior Authorization and Copay Cap Bills
Step therapy is a cost saving tactic used by insurers that requires people with arthritis and other potentially debilitating conditions to try and fail lower-cost medications before covering more expensive treatments. In other words, insurance companies oftentimes disregard treating physicians’ knowledge of their patients and related expertise, forcing patients to try cheaper medications, all to save a few dollars.
Continue reading Step Therapy Win in West Virginia!
The 2017 Advocacy Summit was held March 6-7 in Washington, DC, and while the outcome is still developing, we are very pleased with the results thus far.
Arthritis affects people regardless of age or origin, so it was no surprise that this year’s Summit attendees were a mix of all ages from coast to coast. More than 400 people from 45 states attended.
Continue reading Success at Summit! Advocates Meet with Congress as American Health Care Act Released
Iowa has recently joined 27 other states that have passed biosimilars legislation. On behalf of the 619,000 adults (plus 2,800 children) in Iowa with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, we’d like to thank Governor Branstad for signing House File 305 into law on Friday, March 10, 2017.
The bill allows Iowa pharmacists the ability to dispense safe and potentially less expensive biologic medications to patients, by substituting an FDA approved interchangeable biosimilar for a prescribed biologic product. The law also requires that the prescriber and patient be notified when there is a substitution.
Continue reading Victory in Iowa: Biosimilar Legislation Signed Into Law!
Day two of the Advocacy Summit started with lots of chatter about the Trump administration’s unveiling of repeal and replace health care legislation.
Several aspects of the bill align with our Patient Principles for Health Care which outlines four principles that, if adopted, will result in a transparent health care system that allows easier access to more affordable care. The bill includes language that prevents denying coverage for people with preexisting conditions, bans lifetime coverage caps and allows young people to remain on their parent’s insurance plans until they turn 26-years-old – all good news for the arthritis community!
Continue reading Advocacy Summit Day 2 Highlights: Advocates Meet with State and Federal Policymakers to Share Their Stories