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Report says Michigan health insurance plans do poor job covering drugs for autoimmune disorders


Michigan's largest health insurance plans got poor or failing grades in a report on drug coverage for autoimmune diseases.  

The report was issued by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), based on research by Dr. Kenneth E. Thorpe and Manasvini Singh of Emory University.

The report gives C grades to most health insurance plans for their coverage of prescription drugs for five autoimmune disorders: Crohn's disease, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple schlerosis. 

But some plans offered by Priority Health, Blue Cross, and Health Alliance Plan, or HAP, got an F for restricting access to drugs, and requiring patients to try cheaper drugs first before they could get the one their doctor prescribed. 

Priority Health and Blue Cross didn't respond to a request for a statement, but HAP says its coverage is evidence-based, and keeps drug costs down.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.