On October 8th, Sammantha Dorazio testified before the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing on the need for Step Therapy Reform

 

“My name is Sammantha Dorazio. I have dealt with (diagnosis) for (number of) years. Navigating my disease and treatment has not been easy to say the least.

When you’re dealing with a chronic illness, no relationship is more important than the one with your doctor. Your doctor sees you when you are at your worst and you trust that they will make the best decision for your care based on your unique variety of symptoms and experiences. They are trained to know all of the treatment options and which ones may be most effective for each patient.

When your doctor prescribes a medication, but your insurance company says you must to try another, the power is gone from the doctor’s hands. That decision that he made carefully, the decision we made together, doesn’t matter.

“Stepping” as it is known means that I may have to fail one, two, or more drugs before getting the one the doctor originally prescribed. Often times the insurance company prefers the cheapest medication possible, not wanting to spend more money than they have to. While the insurance company requires me to try their preferred drug, I am suffering through the pain of my disease, which can cause permanent joint damage. There is no set time that it can take to prove it doesn’t work, which means I could spend months on the wrong medication. Even if I have already tried and failed a medication, my insurance company can require that I try it all over again.

While insurance companies say that we have the option to appeal, there is no transparency or accountability in that process. It’s is lengthy and can take months. Each insurance company can set their own rules and policies, whatever they may be. Something needs to be

Step therapy reform puts a safety net out, to catch the patients that would otherwise fall through the cracks. Patients like me that require specialized care and trust that our doctors have our best interest, not cost, at heart. I ask that you pass step therapy reform and help keep patients like me from going through unnecessary pain.”