10.26.16

More than 85 percent of 829 people commenting on a recent government request for information said they support premium assistance programs helping people to afford their health insurance.

“This overwhelming show of support for premium assistance programs underscores the critical lifeline that these organizations provide to Americans most in-need,” said Dana Kuhn, Ph.D., president and founder of Patient Services Inc. (PSI), in a press release issued yesterday. “Charitable premium assistance programs help Americans living with devastating diseases bridge to the health insurance they need to access life-saving and life-sustaining care. Patient assistance programs across the country adhere to the principle that health insurance enrollment decisions should be made, without influence, by each individual based on their specific circumstances, health and financial needs.”

According to the news release:

    The (Request for Information) comes on the heels of a CMS rulemaking on third-party insurance payments for the new Exchange plans offered under the 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 qualified health plans. As a result, insurers across 38 states are citing this rule to deny coverage to patients by rejecting the premium assistance they were previously receiving from third-party charities.

    In response to CMS’ third-party rulemaking, more than 130 bipartisan members of Congress have cosponsored the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act (H.R. 3742), commonsense legislation that would allow non-profit charities to continue to provide critical assistance to patients under CMS’ existing third-party policy, effectively heeding the original intent of the ACA to ensure uninhibited access to health coverage for all Americans.

    “CMS’ misguided rule is allowing health insurers across the country to deny coverage to patients who need it most,” added Kuhn. “We hope that Congress will take notice of the ongoing public support for premium assistance programs and allow charities to continue to be charitable by passing H.R. 3742.”

The Chronic Disease Coalition, with many other groups as co-signers, was among patient advocacy organizations urging the federal government to protect patients’ rights by ensuring they can access the care they need, including by using financial aid programs.

The Chronic Disease Coalition agrees: Government leaders should listen to the public and protect American consumers. They should not limit the ability of charities to provide financial assistance for low-income patients who need it.

They should #letcharitiesbecharitable.

    Read more:

    Patient advocacy groups send joint letter to CMS defending charitable premium assistance programs

    Chronic disease patients, family members and caretakers unite in support of charitable premium assistance programs