On March 9, 2020, Aimed Alliance sent a sign-on letter to HealthPartners, which is a nonprofit health care provider and health insurance company located in Minnesota and operating nationwide. The letter, joined by 25 health care providers and patient advocates, was sent in response to the health insurer’s decision to end coverage for a medication in the middle of the plan year, which will become effective on April 1, 2020. This is a practice known as “nonmedical switching,” which forces stable patients to change the medication that they are currently taking for nonmedical reasons, often in the middle of the plan year when patients are unable to enroll in a different health plan that would offer coverage of the medication they are currently stable on.
In addition to rescinding coverage for a medication in the middle of the plan year, HealthPartners issued notifications to patients and providers that contained conflicting information about when the coverage change will become effective: patients were informed that the coverage change will become effective on April 1, 2021, while health care providers were informed that the coverage change will become effective on April 1, 2020. This has likely caused confusion among patients who are uncertain about when HealthPartners will stop covering their medication. In the letter, Aimed Alliance explained how these practices can be harmful to patients and how nonmedical switching can violate state unfair trade practice laws.
Read our letter to learn more about these issues.