Medical patients would see greater rights under Morrison planSPRINGFIELD – For many patients suffering from chronic medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, mental illness or chronic pain, finding the right medication for treatment of serious symptoms can be difficult. For patients who do find a medication that works for them, staying on that medication is vital.

State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) passed a plan out of the Senate yesterday afternoon that would give more flexibility to patients who are benefiting from a certain drug but are required by their insurance company to take a less-costly medication.

“Patients who have been prescribed a certain medication by their doctor should not have to jump through hoops with an insurance bureaucrat to get their medicine,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) said. “This proposal is the culmination of a yearlong negotiation process that I am proud to say is an agreement between the insurance industry and patient advocates.”

Morrison’s plan, contained in House Bill 3549, expands what is known as step-therapy exceptions. Step-therapy is the process by which a patient tries other medications first before “stepping up” to drugs that are costlier. While the process can save insurance companies money, for many patients who have already tried generic drugs or who are stable on their current prescriptions, the issue can be a serious health concern.

“Expanding the ability of patients to advocate for the use of prescription medications which would be best for their unique medical circumstance is an important tool in the health care delivery process for patients and doctors alike,” said Patrick Stone, Associate Director of State Government Relations at the National Psoriasis Foundation.

House Bill 3549 passed the Senate without opposition and now heads to the Illinois House for a concurrence vote.