Senators are in the Driver’s Seat to Protect Illinoisans from Non-Medical Switching – Illinois patients urge Senate to pass House Bill 4146

Senators are in the Driver’s Seat to Protect Illinoisans from Non-Medical Switching – Illinois patients urge Senate to pass House Bill 4146

By Shaina Smith.

Imagine you’re driving down the highway with your child in the back seat and you are suddenly overcome with a rushing sensation of adrenaline, fatigue and panic. Your vision changes, your heart beat quickens, and you hold on tight to the steering wheel, praying you don’t lose consciousness and the ability to keep your son or daughter safe. That was my life before being accurately diagnosed with one of my many comorbid conditions and finding a treatment option that managed its symptoms.

Shaina Smith

Living with a chronic disease makes you feel vulnerable and unsafe in your own body. But what’s even scarier than the unknown from the accompanying symptoms is the lack of control individuals have when it comes to the management of their illness. Children, veterans, mothers, lawmakers, public safety personnel are all susceptible to being taken off the medically necessary treatment options prescribed by their doctor. Why? In an effort to save money, insurers and pharmacy benefit managers will switch a person from their current therapy onto an alternative treatment option. Known as non-medical switching, this practice of forcing a person off their medication happens in the middle of the health plan year, when that individual is locked into the plan with nowhere to turn for help. Now that’s scary.

There is good news though: lawmakers in Springfield are taking notice of the harm non-medical switches can have on moms like me, children like my son and friends like yours who live here in Illinois. House Bill 4146 would make health coverage fair in Illinois by preventing insurers from making unfair – and potentially unsafe – benefit changes while Illinoisans are locked into the plan. The bill recently passed the Illinois House of Representative and has bipartisan support in the Senate. Chief sponsors include Senator’s Heather Steans (D – 7th District), Antonio Muñoz (D – 1st District), Linda Holmes (D – 42nd District), Pamela J. Althoff (R – 32nd District), and Melinda Bush (D – 31st District). I urge their Senate colleagues to join them and co-sponsor this bill.

If the bill passes, it would mean families and individuals in Illinois would be protected from harmful mid-year medication changes. It would mean Illinois patients living with chronic conditions like I do would not have to worry that their medication is financially inaccessible or has been altered. That decision should stay between us and our physicians.

When the Senate has the chance to vote on House Bill 4146, I ask its members to think of me, the woman behind the steering wheel with a smiling child in the back seat of the car. I implore Senators to ask themselves if they could knowingly turn away from legislation that would keep their constituents safe from experiencing health setbacks that could endanger the life of that individual and their loved ones. If the answer is no, I applaud your stance on patient safety and urge you to become co-sponsors and vote favorably on House Bill 4146. Your support is shared by more than 25 cosponsors in the Senate. Illinois residents just want insurers to honor the contracts they sign with patients and be able to receive the prescription coverage benefits they signed up for.

Shaina Smith is Director of State Advocacy & Alliance Development for U.S. Pain Foundation. Diagnosed with various pain conditions, including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type, Shaina utilizes her Journalism background to mobilize pain patient advocates and engage volunteers to participate in awareness programs.

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Authored by: Shaina Smith

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Kris Aaron

Answer to James Watkins’ question: When it costs them more than they’ll earn by treating chronic pain patients like disposable tissues. With corporations, it’s ALWAYS all about the money. We are numbers, not names. They are willing to spend millions of dollars on glitzy marketing but will shaft patients in a heartbeat.

Sandy M

I’m unfortunately from Illinois too. I hope this bill will pass, but nothing seems to be happening up there except a cat and mouse game. it’s all so childish, they all have plenty of money! This is the 9th worse state to live in. Plus, we are broke, but our officials are livi tong real good.

Shaina, sorry to hear what you went thru with a child in the back of your car, I’m glad it all worked out for you,! My medications have been cut back and I’m having falls, which I never had before.

Be careful and thank you for information.



This discussion is a bit off topic but to the point,… I’m trying to get this out to as many as possible: CPP’S please Google FIERCE BIOTECH.COM …It references NEW NON OPIOID MEDICATION being developed and in the pipeline.
I strongly feel that this is a serious and for the most part, unknown reason to many for the illegal happenings to us and our plight as suffering injustly with chronic pain issues.
It makes the most sense to me but that’s my opinion only.
Please read the numerous pilot test programs/medications undergoing IN BIG PHARMA.
Always follow the money..
Especially during this crazy insane Federal Administration.
Thanks. A fellow CPP.

Debbie Gray

Truth! I experienced a very similar situation! Standing for chronic pain patients in MISSOURI! My heart is with ALL behind pulled off medication(s) or altered to those worse than managed opiate pain sufferers 💔💘


Thank God


If you ask me, Shaina, you shouldn’t have to have a bill that keeps companies from breaking a contract mid-contract. But that may just be me. I think people should be honest- keep their word,- NOT BREAK A CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION.. AND THEY SHOULD BE PROUD TO KEEP THEIR WORD.


I am glad , since they feel no obligation to do that, there will be a law that they **have to**.

The company I worked for all my career (ONE RINGY DINGY) stepped up several years ago and said “we will no longer cover your healthcare unless you use Obamacare ..And we are ceasing to repay your Medicare reimbursement immediately unless you do..- then we will put it into a health savings plan.”. You must buy Obamacare from our registered sellers. So they would make money by selling the coverage plus if you didn’t get their coverage you lost, on average $60 monthly of your pension check, (did they want to be sure you were locked into their plan?) “AND, THEY CONTINUED, WE ARE BACKDATING IT TO ANYONE WHO RETIRED IN 1992.” Most who had retired in ’92 started and were promised these benefits at the latest 1972( EVEN WITH THE MEDICARE MONEY WE FIGURED IT WOULD COST AN EXTRA $8000 YEARLY)


It used to be that there didn’t need to be a law that you couldn’t break your word, YOUR CONTRACT but it is really crazy now.

Thank you for that article.

TY for posting as a resident in Illinois, and a person who lives with Chronic Pain. Shared info with my State Rep. When are people with chronic medical conditions going to be showed compassion, respect, etc. and no longer treated like criminals?