Patient Groups Launch ‘Fair Copay VA’ Campaign to Cap Rising Out-Of-Pocket Costs for Vital Medications

Patient Services Inc. Leads Campaign Advocating for HB 1948 – Legislation to Limit Medication Price Discrimination for Insured Virginians, Especially Those with Life-Threatening & Chronic Illnesses

RICHMOND, VA. (January 20, 2015) Patient Services, Inc. (PSI), an independent, national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps patients with chronic illnesses and conditions access their treatments and therapies, today announced the launch of Fair Copay VA. Led by Virginia-based PSI in partnership with other leading patient and provider groups across the state, the new campaign is raising awareness about the impact of high out-of-pocket costs for medications and advocating for HB 1948 – legislation which would limit these costs.

Prescription drug benefit plans traditionally include a three-tiered drug formulary, with copay limits for each tier, but health insurers are increasingly moving treatments to “specialty tiers,” where there are no limits on what a beneficiary is required to pay. HB 1948, which was introduced by Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), will increase access to medications by ensuring that the required copayment or coinsurance applicable to drugs on a specialty tier does not exceed $100 per month for a 30-day supply.

Fair Copay VA is rallying Virginians and calling on members of the General Assembly to enact HB 1948 during the 2015 session. For updates and more information, visit www.faircopay.org. Follow Fair Copay VA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FairCopayVA, and on Twitter (@FairCopayVA) or by using the hashtags “#FairCopayVA” and “#IPaidMyPremium.”

“Health insurers are creating barriers for patients with chronic or life-threatening conditions by charging them up to 40 percent of the total cost of a medication, rather than a fixed copay,” said Dana Kuhn, Ph.D., president and founder of PSI. “These so-called ‘specialty tier’ price structures can mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month in additional out-of-pocket costs for a single medication, putting treatments out of reach for many insured Virginians.”

Del. McClellan commented, “Insured patients across Virginia are hurting because the medications that keep them healthy and out of the hospital are now out of reach. High out-of-pocket costs are forcing families to decide between their health and basic needs.  This is a choice that no one should have to face, especially those who pay for health insurance. It’s critical that we protect insured Virginians by limiting the out-of-pocket costs for vital medications.”

Although any Virginian could be subjected to unreasonably high out-of-pocket costs, those most likely to be affected are living with life-threatening or chronic conditions, such as cancer, hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, lupus, and HIV/AIDS.

Several states across the country, including New York, Vermont, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, Louisiana and Montana, have already implemented copay limitations.

About Fair Copay VA

Fair Copay VA – led by Patient Services, Inc. – is a patient-focused campaign dedicated to ensuring that Virginians who have paid their insurance premiums are able to access the medical treatments they need when they or someone in their family gets sick. Other groups supporting Fair Copay VA include the American Academy of Pain Management, Arthritis Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia, HealthHIV, Hemophilia Foundation of America (HFA),  Immune Deficiency Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lupus Foundation of America – DC/Maryland/Virginia Chapter,  National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), National Patient Advocate Foundation, Virginia Hemophilia Foundation, and  Virginia Organizations Responding to AIDS (VORA). Fair Copay VA advocates for a legislative solution to limit out-of-pocket costs for vital medications. For more information, visit www.faircopayva.org.

About PSI

Patient Services, Inc. (PSI) is the "ground breaking" 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization of its kind. Founded in 1989 by Dana Kuhn, Ph.D., the Midlothian, Virginia, based company has helped people who live with specific chronic illnesses or conditions locate suitable health insurance coverage and access ways to satisfy expensive co-payments. PSI provides assistance with the cost of health insurance premiums associated with COBRAs, State High Risk Pools, Open enrollment, Guaranteed Issue policies, HIPAA conversion policies; and prescriptions co-payments associated with private insurance as well as with Medicare Parts B and D.

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