Health insurance is your safety net. It promises to protect your savings and your future in the event of an accident or illness. Today, thousands of Americans dependent on biologic drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, MS and Crohn’s and are finding this promise empty.
Many commercial insurance plans have placed the costliest drugs, like biologics, in "specialty tiers." Insurers pay only a small percent of specialty tier drug costs, leaving patients to pick up the tab. Drugs that were formerly covered with $30 or $50 co-pays now cost patients hundreds or thousands of dollars each month to access.
It is simply unacceptable that people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis are subjected to unfair and discriminatory insurance policies. These medications help people live their lives to the fullest and from becoming disabled.
The Patients' Access to Treatments Act of 2012 (H.R. 4209 / PATA) restores insurance to its founding principles: a system of protection for people in their time of need. If enacted, PATA will limit commercial health insurers from charging more for biologic treatments than they do for other non-preferred brand drugs.
PATA had a strong bipartisan introduction but needs more sponsors to get the attention needed to pass.
Eric needs your help getting other Members of Congress to sponsor this legislation. Please ask your U.S. Representative to sponsor PATA and end discrimination against people with arthritis.
- The U.S. House of Representatives
As someone deeply concerned about arthritis, I am writing to ask you to support the Patients’ Access to Treatment Act (PATA/H.R. 4209). If enacted, PATA will improve access to the critical treatments that can keep me, and my loved ones, active and productive citizens. Biologic drugs can now prevent patients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis, from becoming disabled, seriously ill, or even dying.
Unfortunately, many health insurance policies are moving these critical medications, such as biologics, into "specialty tiers" that utilize high patient cost-sharing methods known as "co-insurance". This fourth/specialty tier now commonly requires patients to pay a percentage of the cost of medication - anywhere from 20% to 50%, which can often be hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month for a single medication - rather than a fixed co-payment amount.
Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Lois Capps (D-CA) has introduced bi-partisan legislation, H.R. 4209-The Patients' Access to Therapies Act (PATA), that would treat these specialty drugs the same as Tier III non-preferred drugs. Under PATA, commercial health insurers would impose the same co-payment obligations for specialty drugs as they already do for Tier III medications. Providing insured patients access to these treatments will allow me and many more of your constituents to remain in the workforce, raise their families, and avoid becoming permanently disabled or seriously ill.
I urge you to step forward and sponsor PATA and your constituents who have chronic, life threatening, and disabling conditions.
Thank you very much.
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