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Tampa Bay Times: Insurance Practice Hurts Patients

This legislative session, patients in Florida saw to their great dismay that measures to roll back "step therapy" practices failed to become law. Under step therapy, a patient must try and fail on one or more drugs selected by his or her health plan — primarily based on financial considerations — before coverage is granted for the drug prescribed by the patient's health care provider.

Step therapy is used to treat a wide range of diseases and chronic conditions. In Florida, the National Psoriasis Foundation sees psoriasis patients struggle with the impact of step therapy on a regular basis, often suffering painful and debilitating side effects from less effective treatments.

SB 784 by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and HB 863 by Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, both attempted to reduce the influence of step therapy and improve physicians' ability to prescribe the best treatments available, regardless of the cost to insurance companies.

The National Psoriasis Foundation asserts that insurance company-mandated step therapy protocols are not in the best interest of patients. Subjecting patients to arbitrary, drawn-out and often costly step therapies compromises their well-being.

On behalf of our patients, we appreciate the efforts of Gaetz and Harrison, and we hope to see this issue at the forefront of our state's health care discussion in the future.

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