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.
Step therapy, or “fail first,” requires patients to try and fail a series of medications, typically cheaper drugs, before the insurance plan will cover the medication their health care provider originally prescribed. The bill increases access to care for arthritis patients by limiting step therapy practices in Colorado. Specifically, an insurer will not be allowed to require patients to go through step therapy if they already completed step therapy for the same drug, either with their current or former insurance provider.
You can show your appreciation by sending a thank you note to Governor Hickenlooper. We’ve done all the hard work for you by creating a templated electronic letter. All you have to do is click a few buttons. It’s quick and easy, but more important, it lets our legislators know how critical their support is and our sincere appreciation for their help. Send your letter today!
We would like to thank Senator Nancy Todd, Representative Chris Kennedy and Representative Phil Covarrubias for their leadership in sponsoring the bill. The sponsors and their staff worked with stakeholders from the very start to ensure that step therapy protocols would be addressed by the Colorado legislature in 2017.
This bill would not have been enacted without the leadership of the Colorado Chronic Care Collaborative (CCCC). The CCCC is made up of 34 patient advocacy organizations, including the Arthritis Foundation, and serves as a strong, unified voice for Colorado patient groups to speak on issues that are important to patients in the state. Senate Bill 203 was the top priority at the CCCC Chronic Disease Awareness Day in March during which our Advocates educated legislators about the issue and how they could help the arthritis community.
Our Colorado Advocates were key to passage of SB 203. When the bill was heard in the Senate and House Health Committees, Rebecca Gillett (Centennial, CO) and Mariah Leach (Louisville, CO) testified in favor of the legislation. Both Gillett and Leach attended the CCCC’s Chronic Disease Awareness Day with several other Arthritis Foundation Advocates who did an amazing job of sharing their experiences of being forced to go through step therapy protocols. Our Advocates also sent emails to legislators and completed action alerts. Thanks in part to their hard work, this bill is now law!
“Sharing my experience with step therapy only strengthened my resolve to continue advocating for causes important to me,” said Rebecca Gillett, member of the Arthritis Foundation’s Advocate program. “It helped me realize that having the courage to share my story helps our legislators put a face on the issues at hand. I’m so glad I was able to testify before both the senate and house committees to help them understand how step therapy has affected my daily life and overall health the past few years. Seeing this bill become a law makes this advocacy effort such a rewarding experience!”
We were also pleased to engage with a Colorado rheumatologist, Dr. Cherie Reichart, who wrote letters in support of the bill and served as a resource for legislators, helping them better understand step therapy and its impact.
Sharing your story is the key to making legislative changes in your community. You can learn more about advocacy and amplifying your voice by becoming an Arthritis Foundation Advocate! Sign up today.