Staci Penner and her 17-year-old daughter, Laniese, have a lot in common. They both enjoy card making and shopping and love to read and play board games. They also both have arthritis – and, have faced major roadblocks in trying to get access to treatment, thanks to their insurance company.
Staci – forced to try and fail on two medications before her insurance approved the drug her doctor prescribed – ended up in the hospital with complications from those “cheaper” alternatives.
Upon her juvenile arthritis diagnosis at age 9, Laniese was on a drug for 18 months that did absolutely nothing for her symptoms. An athlete at heart, she couldn’t play any sports and missed more than 60 days of school. Finally, after a year and a half, the Penner’s insurance granted coverage for another medication – one that her doctor had originally recommended. In a few weeks, her life started to return to normal. She could again play basketball, run cross-country, spend time with her friends and go back to school.
Both situations were due to an insurance practice called “step therapy.” How can an insurance company have the power to override a doctor and patient’s decision – when the results can be life altering, and in some cases, threatening? Kansans deserve to have adequate patient protections in place.