Legislation Would Protect Access to Life-Saving Healthcare For Quarter of a Million Americans With Chronic & Life-Threatening Diseases
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 21, 2018) – The Marketplace Access Project (MAP), a group of 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 announced it has reached 150 bipartisan cosponsors for the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act (H.R. 3976). Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced this commonsense legislation which would protect non-profit patient assistance by modifying a policy issued by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to require health insurance companies to accept third-party premium and cost-sharing payments from non-profit organizations that operate in compliance with the False Claims Act.
“For patients with chronic and life-threatening diseases, charity assistance can often be a life or death situation,” said Art Wood, president of Patient Services, Inc., the founding member of MAP. “It’s encouraging that so many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have come together and recognized the invaluable service that patient assistance charities provide. Keeping patients safe is a nonpartisan issue and we urge all members of Congress to join the 150 members who have signed on and help pass H.R. 3976.”
On March 19, 2014, CMS issued federal guidance on third-party insurance payments for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchange plans. CMS failed to include non-profit charities on the list of acceptable premium arrangements for patients covered by qualified health plans which is in direct contradiction to the standard currently followed by Medicare. Citing this misguided rule, insurance companies in 42 states are now denying coverage to patients chronic and expensive conditions by rejecting the premium and cost-sharing assistance. Patients are left without the financial assistance they were previously receiving from third-party charities, which effectively undermines the intent of the ACA and unravels the safety net patient assistance groups have worked so hard to create. If passed, H.R. 3976, would create a carve-out for non-profits to provide premium and cost-sharing assistance under the CMS third-party guidance.
“In addition to saving lives of patients with rare and chronic conditions, these charities divert costs away from resource-strapped government programs,” added Wood. “If it weren’t for these donation-based charities helping patients living with rare and chronic conditions cover the exorbitant costs, the government would have to pay up, and only those lucky enough to qualify for public health care programs would receive government assistance. Congress should pass H.R. 3976 and let charities be charitable.”
For more information on the Marketplace Access Project, visit www.marketplaceaccess.org.
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 (H.R. 3976), 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).