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Health/Mental Health/Aging

Lawmakers Want To Limit The Use Of Controversial "Step Therapy"

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Andy Chow
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(from left to right) Shannon Trotter, Ohio Dermatological Association president; Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood); Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering); Sen. Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) show their support for bills to limit the use of “step therapy.”";s:

Lawmakers are gearing up for a debate with health insurance companies over a controversial drug prescription process which insurers say can be used to cut costs. 

Sometimes when a patient goes to get a doctor’s prescription filled, the health insurance company might intervene and require that patient to use a different, cheaper drug first.

This is called “step therapy.” A bipartisan group of lawmakers are proposing a bill that would make sure there’s a clinical reason this process is used and not just to save money.

Shannon Trotter, a dermatologist from Springfield, adds that step therapy doesn’t always save money anyway.

“Why give something that’s less expensive when you know it’s not going to work and spend the time, money on that when you’re adding additional costs.”

The Ohio Association of Health Plans opposed a similar bill last year. They defend step therapy as a way to ensure that safer, more cost-effective drugs are used first.