Among the dozens of new laws that took effect today in Kentucky is a patient protection measure against drug switches mandated by insurance companies. It’s a law aimed at giving you what your doctor ordered.
"We really need you to switch to the generic, if you switch to the generic, your co pay will be five dollars,” Stepp remembers of the switch. “If you keep taking the brand name your co pay's going to be 50 dollars."
She says when her drug was changed her neurological condition worsened; exactly what she feared would happen.
"Ended up having more headaches and more seizures, nausea, a lot of very bad side effects from the generic,” Stepp explained.
The new law allows doctors to override drug decisions mandated by insurers, but the new legislation only covers those who have individual insurance or are part of a group employer health plan.
It does not help those who are covered by Medicaid, Medicare part-D or who are self funded. Children on KCHIP, the state’s insurance for kids, is also not on the list.
"Hopefully this will get the ball rolling and maybe we can really prove that this is a benefit for our patients,” said Rachel Ward-Mitchell who is nurse coordinator for the UK Epilepsy Program. Most of the program’s patients receive government insurance.
As for Stepp, it’s peace of mind to have the new consumer protection helping her.
“Ii feel like it's a security blanket,” said Stepp. “I feel like I know that I'm going to get the medication that is going to keep me best controlled."