Earlier this week, Chronic Disease Coalition executive director Scott Bruun was interviewed on Living with Lupus, a podcast hosted by lupus survivor Susan Hendrix. While Scott touched on several important topics, here are three takeaways from the interview:
- Step therapy – or fail first – legislation is dangerous for chronic disease patients.
This popular insurance policy is meant to cut corners and costs for insurers, even if it’s at the patient’s expense. While a patient may be prescribed a particular treatment regimen or medication, insurance companies will often reject what is originally prescribed by a doctor, insisting that the patient try cheaper medications first before covering the appropriate one. “It can cause a lot of damage for diseases like arthritis,” said Bruun. “Insurance companies and their lobbyists have been very sophisticated in implementing step therapy policies.”
- Scott was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after experiencing a slump in his basketball game.
“When I was 15 years old, I played basketball in high school. There was a time period where I had all the classic symptoms [of Type 1 diabetes] but never thought about it as a 15-year-old. Over the course of a few weeks, I lost a considerable amount of weight and experienced incredible thirst. One afternoon I was playing basketball with my father, I took ten, twelve shots at the basket and airballed every single one of them. And that’s when I said to my dad that there’s something really wrong, and I was diagnosed at the ER with Type 1 diabetes.”
- Insurance companies are manipulative – they understand how to work the complex system that they built.
For many chronic disease patients, that means having to learn how to advocate and push back against insurers when they’re harming patients. Scott explained how difficult it can be for certain populations, especially the Medicare community: “You’re taking a population [the Medicare community] and a complex health care system. Seniors can’t negotiate with powerful insurance companies. Patients become more sophisticated but may not know that there may be alternatives. You have to fight and advocate for yourself.”
Listen to Scott’s interview and learn how you can help advocate for yourself or for patients against discrimination.