Kentucky General Assembly Passes Step Therapy Reform Bill Unanimously
On March 17th, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed into law a bill that will update the state’s existing step therapy law to better serve the interests of Kentuckians, including those with lupus, that rely on prescription medications to effectively manage their health.
Ten years ago, Kentucky was the first state in the country to pass legislation restricting the use of step therapy protocols by insurance companies – since then, more than half of U.S. states have passed similar legislation. SB140, sponsored by Senator Max Wise of district 16, creates a path for physicians to override step therapy protocols in a number of situations, most notably when they would require the patient to try a different medication than the one the patient is currently using to successfully treat their condition.
Step therapy is a cost-containment strategy used by insurance companies that goes into effect when certain medications are prescribed by a patient's healthcare provider. When a medication is subject to step therapy, the insurance company requires the patient to first try a different medication which is chosen by the company. After demonstrating that the medication chosen by the insurance company has failed to successfully treat the patient's condition, the patient will be able to access the medication originally prescribed by their provider – for this reason, step therapy protocols are often referred to as "fail first."
Because lupus is a heterogenous disease with symptoms unique to each individual patient, it is critically important to avoid unnecessary changes to their medications. This bill will improve the current step therapy law in Kentucky and allow patients and their healthcare providers to find the best treatments for that particular patient with fewer barriers and delays.
Foundation Advocacy in Support of SB140
As the legislation moved through the General Assembly, the Foundation authored a letter to elected officials indicating our support for SB140 because of what it would mean for people with lupus in Kentucky. Additionally, the Foundation worked with the Kentuckians for Step Therapy Reform Coalition to develop the one-pager that was distributed to the Kentucky legislature in support of the legislation. We commend and appreciate Kentucky for taking a major step towards making healthcare more accessible for people with lupus in Kentucky!
To be a part of the next success story in your state, sign up as an advocate!