Today is the first day of the 2014 Arthritis Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C.
We are so excited to be here, and are looking forward to re-connecting with friends that we have met on our JA journey while making a difference for everyone in the US affected with Arthritis. Even if you can’t be here, YOU can make a difference too, by “attending” the Virtual Summit, and its SO easy!
While we are here visiting our Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill, you can “echo” our call to action, and have your voice be heard. In the next 2-3 days, visit http://www.arthritis.org/advocacy/advocate-news/advocacy-summit/virtual-advocacy-summit/# to view the three initiatives that we will be talking about.
Under each initiative, to the right of the screen, there is a blue “take action” button. When you click that, you will automatically go to a form letter that is already done for you! All you have to do is fill out your information in the form and voila! Off your letter goes to Congress. How easy is that? Of course you can choose to customize your letter if you wish- just change it before you fill out your info.
The first initiative, H.R. 460 is a very important piece of legislation that will affect ANYONE (not just people with arthritis) who relies on high cost medications for treatment. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “The bipartisan Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (H.R. 460), introduced by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), limits cost-sharing requirements in the specialty drug tier (typically Tier IV or higher) to a similar dollar amount applicable to drugs in a non-preferred brand drug tier (typically Tier III).” In plain English, this means that certain, potential life saving medications have been moved by commercial insurance carriers to a “specialty tier” that is billed at a much higher copay rate than other medications.
The AF explains it further:
Commercial health insurers have traditionally charged fixed co-pays for different tiers of medications. As an example, the co-pays might be set at $10/$20/$50 for the three tiers.
Some commercial health insurance policies are now moving vital medications (mostly biologics) into a fourth specialty tier. Specialty Tiers require patients to pay a percentage of their drug cost– from 25% to 50%– rather than a fixed co-payment. These practices are placing medically necessary treatments out of reach of average Americans.
- Biologics are FDA approved and have no inexpensive, generic equivalents.
- Biologics can prevent patients with rheumatoid arthritis, MS, lupus, hemophilia, and some forms of cancer, from becoming disabled, seriously ill, or even dying.
- Monthly co-insurance amounts often range from $500-$5,000. Cost-sharing for prescription medications restricts access to medically necessary drugs.
- Individuals unable to afford specialty tier pricing are likely to go without crucial medications, resulting in disability and other expensive health complications.
By making this a priority and telling your congressman that you want HR 460 to pass, it would help end this discriminatory practice.
This is why we need YOU! Help us face arthritis and other serious conditions by contacting your Congressman today. We can do this together!