Access to Marketplace Insurance Act Received 147 Bipartisan Cosponsors Last Congress; Would Ensure Charities Can Continue to Help those Most In-Need Access Critical Healthcare

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 5, 2017) – The Marketplace Access Project (MAP), a group of over 20 leading national patient advocacy organizations dedicated to protecting non-profit insurance premium and cost-sharing assistance for individuals suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses, today applauded Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) for reintroducing the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act (H.R. 3976). This commonsense legislation, which received 147 bipartisan cosponsors last Congress, would modify a rule by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that allowed health insurers to refuse to cover patients enrolled in qualified health plans (QHPs) if they receive premium or cost-sharing assistance from non-profit charities, including churches and civic groups.

“Patient assistance programs help connect hundreds of thousands of Americans suffering from devastating health conditions to life-saving care,” said Dana Kuhn, Ph.D., president and founder of Patient Services, Inc., the founding member of MAP. “But rather than safeguard these private funding sources for costly health care that could otherwise fall on the taxpayer, CMS is now allowing insurers to pull the rug out from patients at their darkest hour. Congress should take advantage of this opportunity to show America that they can agree on a simple and positive healthcare fix and swiftly pass the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act.”

On March 19, 2014, CMS issued federal guidance on third-party insurance payments for the new Exchange plans offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In direct contradiction to the standard currently followed by Medicare, CMS failed to include non-profit charities on the list of acceptable premium arrangements for patients covered by QHPs. Insurers across 41 states are now citing this CMS guidance to deny coverage to patients by rejecting the premium and cost-sharing assistance they were previously receiving from third-party charities.

To address this loophole, Rep. Cramer originally introduced the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act in the House of Representatives in November 2016. The legislation (previously known as H.R. 3742) earned the support of 147 bipartisan cosponsors during the final months of the 114th Congress. The Access to Marketplace Insurance Act (H.R. 3976) would modify the CMS guidance by allowing those with chronic and rare diseases to continue to access their healthcare with charitable aid.

“The Access to Marketplace Insurance Act would remove the handcuffs from private charities, allowing them to assist insured patients who need help paying for their insurance without fear of breaking the law,” said Rep. Cramer. “It would help Americans living with chronic conditions who, through no fault of their own, need expensive treatments to survive.”

“Patient assistance programs provide hope to individuals and their families after a diagnosis that might otherwise be a death sentence,” added Kuhn. “MAP urges Congress to pass the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act immediately so that non-profits can continue to provide life-saving care with charitable, rather than government, dollars.”

For more information on the Marketplace Access Project and the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act, visit www.marketplaceaccess.org.

About MAP

The Marketplace Access Project (MAP) is a patient advocacy movement dedicated to protecting non-profit insurance premium and cost-sharing assistance for individuals suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses. MAP supports the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act, bipartisan legislation that would secure non-profit premium and cost-sharing assistance for patients enrolled in qualified health plans and help ensure health care coverage that works for everyone. For more information, visit www.marketplaceaccess.org, or follow MAP on Twitter (@AccessProjectUS) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplaceaccess).

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