On Thursday March 15 at 1 pm, the Insurance and Real Estate Committee will hear testimony on Raised Bill no. 5486, which would limit out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs, including specialty drugs, to $1000/year for an individual and $2000/year for a family. The text of the legislation is here.
If you have Crohn's, rheumatoid arthritis, MS or a host of other complicated illnesses and take a biologic or new and expensive drug, you should know that there's a trend towards requiring insureds to pay a percentage coinsurance for these drugs. If a drug costs $5000/month, for example, and there's a 20% coinsurance, your responsibility would be $1000/month or $12,000/year. Since most of us can't afford that, the use of specialty tiers is putting these really life-saving medications out of reach of many patients.
Raised Bill no 5486 would put a stop to that, ensuring that you are able to continue to get the medication you need. So if you're on Humira, Cimzia, Enbrel, IVIg, Benlysta -- any injectible or new and expensive drug -- this bill would guarantee that you can afford to continue to take your medication. And if you aren't a patient, but someone you care about is, you can spread the word.
But if this is going to happen, we need your help. If you can show up and testify next Thursday, that would be great. If you have written testimony, you need to bring 35 copies, but you don't have to submit your testimony in writing -- you can just testify verbally. You can sign up to testify at Room 2800 of the Legislative Office Building from 11 am on (get there early if you don't want to be there all day).
If you can't make it to testify, check to see if your legislator is on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee. The list of committee members is here. Shoot your legislator an email and tell him or her that this issue matters to you. Stories from real people about the real impact of specialty tiers is what will help here. So please, do whatever you can to help promote this important legislation. Jennifer