Nonmedical switching advocacy had some major developments in April, as many state legislative sessions began to wrap up. Nonmedical switching occurs when insurers force patients off medications for financial reasons instead of medical ones. U.S. Pain is among many patient groups who oppose nonmedical switching; studies show it is bad for patients’ health and can be costlier in the long run. While U.S. Pain is involved in related efforts in multiple states, the below updates relate to those states where the organization is most actively involved.
Connecticut – In Connecticut, U.S. Pain is leading a coalition of 13 patient and provider groups that support a bill to prohibit nonmedical switching, HB 7123. The bill currently remains stuck in the Appropriations Committee. Coalition members are working to encourage committee members to move the bill forward.
Tennessee – U.S. Pain and the 19-member coalition it is leading were disappointed when legislation known as the Reliable Coverage Act died on April 4. In the Senate, SB 991 did not receive enough votes to pass the Commerce and Labor Committee. This meant HB 960 did not go on to the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee hearing on April 5. The coalition is discussing next steps and the possibility of reintroducing the legislation next year.
Texas – In Texas, U.S. Pain is on the steering committee of the nonmedical switching coalition. Most recently, patient and provider groups met with members of the House Insurance Committee to educate legislators of the impact nonmedical switching can have to their constituents; HB 2882 was tentatively scheduled to be heard on April 25, but may be placed on the May 2 agenda. Meanwhile, the Senate companion bill, SB 1967 was referred to Business and Commerce, but action has not yet been taken, and steering committee members continue seeking ways to further enhance the bill language.
To get involved with the organization’s nonmedical switching efforts, take this survey.