PROVIDENCE– With today’s introduction of S0799 in the Senate and last week’s introduction of H6159 in the House, Rhode Island lawmakers have taken the first step towards ensuring cancer patients and others with chronic disease are protected from excessive prescription drug costs. Just two weeks ago, advocates and lawmakers convened at the State House to urge lawmakers to support this legislation ahead of the bill introductions.
To help afford the cost of their prescription drugs, many Rhode Islanders take advantage of copay assistance offered through pharmaceutical manufacturers and other patient assistance programs. Unfortunately, recent changes to insurance industry practices threaten the positive impact of these programs.
A relatively new insurance company practice – copay accumulator adjustments allow the enrollee to use copay assistance, but the amount of the support does not count towards the enrollee’s out-of-pocket cost sharing requirements, like their deductible.
“Copay accumulator adjusters mean that patients will see increased out-of-pocket costs and take longer to reach their required deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums,” said Ryan Strik, Rhode Island Director of Government Relations for ACS CAN.
“Copay adjustment programs put patients and their families in an impossible situation – having to choose between their health and other financial obligations. The bills now in consideration in both the House and Senate would ensure fewer Rhode Island cancer patients and others face this hurdle, and we look forward to working with lawmakers to make that happen,” said Strik.
ACS CAN sincerely thanks Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and Senator Joshua Miller for introducing the Senate bill as well as House Deputy Majority Whip Mia Ackerman, along with Reps. Tina Spears, David Bennett, Brian Patrick Kennedy, Katherine Kazarian, Raymond Hull, John Edwards, Patricia Serpa, Joseph McNamara, and Mary Messier for introducing the House bill.
“These lawmakers have shown their commitment to protecting cancer patients and their families by introducing legislation to end the use of co-pay accumulator programs. ACS CAN thanks them for their tireless work to support cancer patients and their families and urges all members of the General Assembly to support S0799/H6159,” said Strik.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.