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Asm. Akilah Weber Introduces Bill to Protect Terminally Ill Californians

On Feb. 7, Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-La Mesa) introduced legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 2180, designed to ensure that terminally or chronically ill people living in California can afford their life-saving medications.
If passed, the law would require California health plan providers, insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to count the value of financial assistance provided by subsidy programs towards a terminally ill patient’s deductible and out-of-pocket expenses.

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Dr. Akilah Weber (File Photo)
Dr. Akilah Weber (File Photo)

By California Black Media

 On Feb. 7, Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-La Mesa) introduced legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 2180, designed to ensure that terminally or chronically ill people living in California can afford their life-saving medications.

If passed, the law would require California health plan providers, insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to count the value of financial assistance provided by subsidy programs towards a terminally ill patient’s deductible and out-of-pocket expenses.

“When insurers and PBMs do onto count the value of copay assistance toward cost-sharing requirements, patients often experience “a copay surprise” at the pharmacy counter and may be forced to walk away without their needed medication because they cannot afford it,” wrote Weber in a statement.

Over 80 patient advocacy organizations, medical foundations and other groups applauded Weber for introducing the legislation.

“The All Copays Count in California Coalition commends Dr. Weber for championing legislation that will improve patient access to medications and protect the most vulnerable Californians from harmful and deceptive insurance schemes that raise patient costs,” said Lynne Kinst, Executive Director of Hemophilia Council of California (HCC), which is a cosponsor of the bill.

According to the HCC, an estimated 70% of patients “abandon their prescription medications when their out-of-pocket costs reach $250 or more.

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