(The Center Square) – Ohioans caught unaware of some prescription drug deductible costs could get some help.
billwhich initially came out of committee more than a year ago before being unanimously by the House recently, would stop a practice commonly known as copay accumulator policies.
“This is another effort to reduce prescription drug costs to help families live healthier and happier lives right here at home. In Ohio, we stand with patients, and we take care of them. No one should have to choose between paying for their medication and the food they put on the table,” Rep. Tommy West, D-Canton, said.
West said that patients impacted by the policies are often unaware they exist and are blindsided once they learn these payments did not apply to their deductible. With accumulators, health plans take the assistance payment and don’t allow it to contribute to the deductible, requiring the full deductible to still be paid by the patient.
“The assistance provided through these programs is designed to simply help patients meet their ever-increasing insurance deductible and coinsurance requirements,” Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynefield, testified before the House Health Committee. “Patients have told me this assistance is crucial in allowing them to save thousands of dollars each month on their prescription coverage and to be able to meet their other medical and insurance plan costs. In an effort to shift costs back onto the patient, health insurers have recently begun to institute policies that prevent these copay assistance programs from applying toward a patient’s deductible and coinsurance.”
The legislation has broad support from patient advocacy groups, church groups and medical groups such as the Ohio State Medical Association and the Ohio Pharmacists Associations.
The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the Ohio Association of Health Plans and the America’s Health Insurance Plans opposed the bill.