Bipartisan Legislation Creating Step Therapy Safeguards Introduced in Senate

March 2, 2021

Bipartisan legislation that would require group health insurance plans to implement critical patient protections from step therapy protocols was recently introduced in the United States Senate. The Association for Clinical Oncology (the Association) supports the measure—S. 464, the Safe Step Act—and its aim to ensure patients have timely access to care. The Association is urging Senators to cosponsor the legislation.

Step therapy requires patients to try and fail on a lower-cost treatment chosen by their payor before they can access the medication prescribed by their health care provider. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (the Society) asserts that step therapy is inappropriate in oncology due to the individualized nature of modern cancer treatment and the general lack of interchangeable clinical options. Medically appropriate cancer care requires timely patient access to the most appropriate drug, prescribed by the patient’s provider.

The 'Safe Step Act' would not ban step therapy, but instead, it would give doctors a transparent process to appeal step therapy requirements, establish circumstances in which a patient may be exempt from step therapy protocols, and protect patients who have a change in insurance from having to repeat step therapy protocols unnecessarily. Urge your Senators to cosponsor the Safe Step Act.

Learn more about utilization management policies, or bookmark ASCO in Action for updates on the Safe Step Act and all efforts to ensure timely access to high-quality cancer care.