A new bill in California is seeking to help those with chronic pain disorders obtain medications through both Medi-Cal and private insurance companies. While the majority of the state’s insurers already provide coverage for pain medications, there is room for improvement according to legislators. California lawmakers believe that the process of trial and error that companies currently employ is unreasonable.
The process leaves many chronic pain sufferers to deal with the pain while the companies try to figure out what is the most cost effective painkiller.
Currently, insurers require that policyholders try a multitude of over-the-counter medications before they consider paying for those prescribed by doctors. Even if the medication is on the company’s list of approved drugs, it could take months before approval is granted. Patients are expected to take generic medications for at least 10 days before they can move on to the next step.
“It takes months and months to get an approval for appropriate medications,” says Doctor Ilkcan Cokgor, a neurologist and oncologist in San Anselmo, California. For cases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and neuropathy, generic drugs are a waste of time, leaving the patient to cope with severe pain.
The new legislation seeks only to curb exhaustive efforts on behalf of chronic pain patients. Insurers will now be allowed to require patients to try two inexpensive options before paying for physician prescribed medications.