Public hearing to be held on bill involving 'step therapy'

    Pills (WGME)

    AUGUSTA (WGME) -- Patients and advocates will urge lawmakers to pass a bill aimed at giving patients better access to medications.

    LD 1009 "An Act to Provide Protections for Maine Patients Facing Step Therapy," would ensure a fair and timely process for exemption from the practice, if the patient's case warrants.

    Step therapy is when an insurer requires a patient try its preferred medication before it will cover a doctor's prescription to control cost.

    The bill would create a faster appeal process and allow a doctor to override the insurer's decision when medically appropriate.

    "When we're talking about my constituents that are struggling with cancer, are struggling with rheumatoid arthritis or who have children who have diabetes, they are facing huge blocks to getting the medication their providers say they need,” Representative Charlotte Warren, (D) Hallowell, said.

    Representative Warren says the bill passed twice in the past but lawmakers were unable to override then Governor Paul LePage’s veto.

    Thursday’s hearing will begin at the Cross Building across from the State House at 1 p.m.

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