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Bridging the Gap

Bridging the info gap between insurers and the National MS Society

A new Chapter committee is reaching out to health insurance companies with the goal of positioning the National MS Society as the go-to source for expertise on MS and recommended therapies.

The Insurance Education Committee, formed in August, will encourage insurance carriers to use the National MS Society as a resource when considering policy changes that could affect people with MS and their families.

“There’s a real need for us to fill in the information gap,” says Ruth Cashell, the Chapter’s director of advocacy and direct services and a member of the committee. “We’re looking to come up with a disease management program that standardizes care for the treatment of MS. We’ll be taking that standard to insurance stakeholders and reaching out to different MS colleagues as well.”

Besides Ruth, committee members include MS neurologists, community members, people with MS, Chapter Board members and others with an extensive background in MS and/or insurance issues.

The committee seeks to reduce patient complaints and improve communication between carriers and the National MS Society by:

  • Creating an environment in which health insurance carriers recognize the National MS Society as
    the best source of information on recommended MS therapies;
  • Educating the community about the prevalence of MS;
  • Developing educational materials to help prevent policy changes that could negatively affect MS patients;
  • Identifying a course of action to take when policy changes require the National MS Society’s attention.

In addition to insurance carriers and brokers, the stakeholders identified by the committee include large employers, unions, pharmaceutical companies and state political leaders.

Tell us your story by by emailing or calling the Chapter at 1-800-344-4867 and pressing option 1.

All MS therapies now covered by Medicaid!
MS patients on Medicaid are now covered for all six of the FDA-approved disease-modifying drugs. The decision this summer by the Washington State Pharmacy & Therapeutic Committee followed supportive testimony by Dr. Lily Jung, neurologist at Swedish MS Center, and Ruth Cashell, director of advocacy and direct services for the Greater Washington Chapter.

The FDA-approved disease modifying therapies are Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone, Novantrone, Rebif and Tysabri.

“In the past, patients had to wait weeks if not months to get approval for certain therapies,” Dr. Jung says. “Now, there should be no delay in starting treatment. This is an exciting victory as the National MS Society is committed to ensuring that everyone has equal access to the disease-modifying therapy of their choice.”

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