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Rep. West reintroduces bipartisan legislation to reduce out-of-pocket prescription costs

February 19, 2021
Thomas West News

COLUMBUS – State Reps. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) and Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) yesterday introduced House Bill (HB) 135, which would cut out-of-pocket prescription costs for patients. The legislation is very similar to their HB 469 of the 133rd General Assembly.

“Amid this pandemic, the cost of prescription drugs has continued to rise at a time folks are already struggling to make ends meet. House Bill 135 is a critical step towards reversing that trend by ending these unfair practices and ensuring greater access to the lifesaving drugs Ohioans desperately need,” said West.

Patients with chronic, complex conditions such as multiple sclerosis and hemophilia rely on copay assistance programs through organizations like drug manufacturers, charities, and churches to help cover the costs of their prescription drugs. Recently, many major health insurance providers have implemented discriminatory policies that no longer allow payments made through these copay assistance programs to count toward a patient’s deductible.

Patients whose health insurance providers use these copay accumulator policies are often blindsided by the discriminatory policies and end up owing thousands of dollars because of unmet deductibles. Additionally, insurers get paid twice for the same medications, meaning they pocket the assistance payment from a manufacturer or church, as well as any copays from the patient during the deductible phase. 

House Bill 135 protects patients and reduces their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs by prohibiting these discriminatory policies and allowing aid from copay assistance programs to count toward a patient’s deductible.

   

House Bill 135 will also have a lasting effect on patients with rare diseases, saving them thousands of dollars on prescription costs.

“As legislators, we must step up and restore our promise of better, healthier lives for all Ohioans, particularly those who bear the burden of rare diseases and conditions every day,” said West.