Governor Kasich Protects Patients by Signing Step Therapy Reform Bill

New Standards Provide Patients Timely Access to Effective Medications

Portland, Ore. (January 4, 2019) — The National Psoriasis Foundation, NPF, a member of the Ohioans for Step Therapy Reform Coalition, thanks the Ohio legislature and Governor John Kasich (R) for the passage of SB 265 - which includes transparency rules around the practice of step therapy

Step therapy is an insurance industry practice which forces patients to try and fail on one or more medications that insurance companies choose before patients receive the treatment that their health care provider originally prescribed. For patients living with serious or chronic illnesses like psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, delaying access to the right treatment could result in increased disease activity, loss of function and possible irreversible joint damage.

“As a doctor and a parent of a child living with psoriasis, I know first hand the barriers step therapy can have in getting patients on the right treatments,” said Dr. Jason Lichten, NPF Board Member. “After 4 years of educating our legislative leaders on the impact of step therapy and the benefit of implementing exceptions to help those who need it the most, I am excited to see our efforts have finally worked.”

Starting in January 2020, provisions contained in SB 265 will create transparency standards for insurance companies to approve prescribed medications and allow for physicians to override step therapy when it interferes with a patient’s well-being. The new law enables patients the opportunity to access the medications originally prescribed by their health care provider to effectively treat their disease.

Over the past four years, NPF has worked tirelessly alongside Ohio patient advocacy groups fighting for patient protections. NPF board members and local volunteers educated lawmakers and the public on the practice of step therapy through the media and legislative visits. Elevating the patient voice through participation in state lobby days, NPF advocates sent emails and made phone calls to discuss the impact of step therapy and the importance of this issue.

“I was proud to lobby on behalf of the thousands of Ohioans who will be positively impacted by this new law,” said NPF advocate Rachel Lichten. "I am pleased that lawmakers were able to remove some of the obstacles patients face in getting the medicines and treatments that their doctors believe will most effectively manage their disease.” 

Led by co-sponsors Senator Peggy Lehner and Senator Charleta Tavares in the Ohio Senate, and Rep. Nickie Antonio and Rep. Terry Johnson in the House of Representatives, recognition, and appreciation should also be given to Rep. Antani, Sen. Beagle, Rep. Blessing, Rep. Boccieri, Rep. Brenner, Sen. Brown, Sen. Burke, Rep. Butler, Rep. Edwards, Sen. Eklund, Rep. Fedor, Sen. Gardner, Rep. Ginter, Sen. Hackett, Rep. Hill, Sen. Hoagland, Sen. Hottinger, Sen. Kunze, Sen. LaRose, Rep. LaTourette, Rep. Lepore-Hagan, Rep. Lipps, Sen. Manning, Sen. O’Brien, Sen. Schiavoni, Rep. Sheehy, Sen. Skindell, Sen. Sykes, Sen. Terhar, Sen. Thomas, Sen. Uecker, Sen. Williams, Sen. Wilson, Sen. Yuko.

Ohio joins 18 other states including Texas, New Mexico, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and New York, that have passed step therapy reform. To achieve this success, NPF worked in partnership with many organizations, including all the members of the Ohioans for Step Therapy Reform Coalition.  

NPF continues to work on behalf of all patients living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis that cannot afford to delay access to the effective treatments prescribed by their health care provider. Placing patient protections and guardrails around step therapy protocols will assist NPF to improve health outcomes for the more than 8 million Americans living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. To learn more about how NPF works to reform step therapy visit www.steptherapy.com

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About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Serving its community through more than 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research funding, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The NPF mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created its Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. To date, NPF has funded more than $21 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at www.psoriasis.org.