For people living with chronic illnesses, having access to the right treatments can make a world of difference in their well-being. The only people who should determine a patient’s medication should be the patient and his or her doctor. But unfortunately, that’s not the case.
One of the biggest issues facing patients is a harmful health insurance practice called non-medical switching. Non-medical switching occurs when a health insurance company decides to no longer cover a drug. They either eliminate the drug from its covered medications list (aka formulary list) or enact other restrictions. By doing so, patients are pressured to either switch to another medication that is on the insurer’s drugs list, or pay out-of-pocket costs.
By forcing patients to switch medications for non-medical reasons, health insurers make it difficult for patients to access the medications they were prescribed and put patients’ health at unnecessary risk.
In New York, Senator Serino and Assemblywoman Peoples-Stoke introduced a bill, S5022-C/A2317-C, that would protect patients from non-medical switching.
In May 2018, we helped patient advocacy group 50-State Network of the Global Healthy Living Foundation support the bill by recruiting New York patients to share their experience with non-medical switching. We then turned the findings into an infographic and executive summary PDF aimed to educate the public and state lawmakers about the harmful effects of non-medical switching.
David Curtis Director of Technology and Data Services, Global Healthy Living Foundation
Media Cause has been working with the Global Healthy Living Foundation since 2014. Over the years, we have been growing GHLF’s patient community, CreakyJoints, with individuals who are diagnosed with arthritis and related chronic illnesses.
As part of our strategy to get patients to take a survey about their non-medical switching experience, we sent emails to CreakyJoints’ subscribers. Few people know the issue as “non-medical switching” so we explained it in patient-friendly terms, and ended the emails with a call-to-action to take the survey.
In addition to activating GHLF’s existing email list, we ran Facebook ads that targeted people who live in New York and likely have a chronic illness. We tested several audience segments and ad copy in order to determine which variants yielded the most results.
By constantly optimizing our ads, which includes turning off ones that aren’t driving survey completions and creating new ones based on top performers, we were able to acquire 139 of the 219 completed surveys from Facebook ads.
We turned the survey’s findings into an eye-catching infographic for the public and a clean executive summary PDF for policymakers. The goal of each collateral was to educate these audiences about the harmful impact of non-medical switching on New York patients.
Producing the infographic meant having a strong understanding of the issue, translating it into layman’s terms, knowing which data points are most important to communicate, and visualizing the findings in a way that is easily understood.
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