Some California health plans may be jeopardizing the health of patients living with a range of chronic conditions. In the name of cost containment, some plans have enacted policies whose impact is to delay or deny access to critical treatments. These policies may actually be driving up long-term health care costs.

One such policy is often referred to as "step therapy." Health insurers deploying step therapy require patients to try and fail older, often less effective, and occasionally more toxic treatments before a patient can access the treatment originally prescribed by his or her doctor.

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