Fail first policy. To the unknowing, it sounds like another one of those ill-conceived foreign policy doctrines, or possibly a method for dealing with the runaway deficit. It certainly doesn’t sound like something that might end up affecting each and every one of us where it counts most, but that’s exactly what may happen.
Fail First policy, also called “step therapy,” is the practice of forcing doctors to prescribe the least costly drug in any class to patients first, even if the physician wants to begin treatment with a different medication. Medical insurance companies have devised this approach in order to keep costs down because if a patient responds to any of the cheaper medicines, the insurer has saved money. It can be a substantial amount of savings in the short run, depending on the drug in question. With health care in the news almost every day now, the policies and guidelines used by insurance companies have come under much closer scrutiny. At first glance, Fail First policy may seem innocuous. After all, who can be against keeping medical insurance premiums down, and possibly making health care cost less for all of us? Well, there is another side to this story, as there is in every great debate.