The Importance of Prescription Medication Access

Prescription medications save and improve the quality of millions of lives every year.

Recently-developed treatment options have had dramatic effects. Consider stats such as these, from

  • Patients with extremely high cholesterol levels have multiple treatment options available to them now that were not available 30 years ago, offering reductions in cholesterol ranging as high as 77%
  • More than 200 medications are now available to treat diabetes and related conditions
  • More than 23 million years of collective life have been saved due to cancer treatment advances that took place from 1988 to 2000
  • In 2015, 45 new medications were approved to be made available to patients

“Nearly half of approved medicines in 2015 were for rare diseases and we also saw approvals in several difficult to treat chronic disease areas, including diabetes, asthma, and high cholesterol.”        

Prescription medications help patients with lifelong diagnoses live healthier, longer and more fulfilling lives. They help to stop and even eliminate emergent medical issues and chronic conditions.

That’s why access to prescription medications is critically important for all NYS patients.

What Is Prescription Medication Access?

“Access” when it comes to prescription medication, and all healthcare in general, refers to the need to ensure patients of all demographics are able to get the medical care that is most appropriate for their health and their medical conditions. This means access to the medications their doctors recommend, along with access to the procedures, specialists and care necessary to improve the quality of their lives.

There are many factors that influence what the best medical care is for a patient, including their:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Past medical conditions
  • Current diagnosis
  • Reactions to medications
  • Allergies
  • Lifestyle

But there are many other factors that may decide what the best course of treatment is for a patient, including:

  • Where they live
  • Who their doctors are
  • What their healthcare plan is
  • What medications are on their insurance coverage’s drug formulary

Ensuring NYS patients have access to the medications they need is critically important. At New York Health Works, we work hard to ensure patients get the prescription medications they need, without having to overcome hurdles due to complex insurance policies.

What Happens When Access Is Limited?

Patients who find their access to prescription medications limited, suffer both financial and emotional consequences, on top of primary main health concerns.

And these health concerns? They’re serious. Reduced access to prescription medications may cause the patient to have to choose a drug less effective than the drug their doctor would prefer they have. Their conditions will not be treated as well, and a physical toll will be taken on the physical, emotional and mental well-being.

We can’t allow access to be limited, but right now, NYS law does not ban negative mid-year formulary changes from happening in the NYS of Health Exchange.

What does this mean?

Right now, insurance companies have the right to change their drug lists halfway through the prescription plan year. While you might have made a commitment to the insurance plan based on the medications it covers, the insurance company can still choose to remove or reduce access to those medications. As a patient and healthcare consumer, you do not have the ability to change plans in the middle of the year.

You can help pass a law that would ban negative mid-year formulary changes

Contact your local legislator. Tell them to pass S. 5382 and A. 7707.

Learn how to contact your legislator, and take action now!