By Sarah Gantz
Liz Parlett Butcher opened her mailbox earlier this week to find a letter she never thought she’d lay eyes on.
UnitedHealthcare, which manages the family’s Medicaid plan, wrote to say that Butcher’s 10-year-old son Shane was approved for his current brands of insulin for the next 20 years.
Insurance companies commonly switch up which brand of medication is considered their preferred option. Before the plan will pay for a more expensive brand, patients must prove the lower-cost option doesn’t work for them.
A July story in the Philadelphia Inquirer chronicled the Butchers’ experience with this system — which included a scary episode of dangerously low blood sugar levels when Shane, who has type 1 diabetes, was switched to a different brand of long-acting insulin.