Patients/doctors ask lawmakers to prevent insurance from forcing step therapy programs

Rep. David Lewis sponsors legislation.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Patients and doctors rallied lawmakers on Thursday to pass a bill that would prevent insurance companies from requiring patients to participate in step therapy programs.

Step therapy requires patients to try and fail a series of treatments before insurance will cover a specific treatment required by a doctor.

House Bill 1048 would require insurance companies to exempt patients from step therapy if their doctor determines it is not in their best interest.

Arloishia Israel says her insurance company forced her to try seven different medications over a period of 18 months to treat her rheumatoid arthritis. Israel says it was only at the end of that year and a half period did her insurance cover the medication her doctor said she needed.

“It makes me angry because now I look at it and say ‘what would my life have been like if I was able to get the medication I needed, where would I be right now?’” Isreal said.

House Bill 1048 is sponsored by Rep. David Lewis, (R-Harnett County).

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