On Sept. 29, a U.S. District Court ruled in favor of patient advocates who challenged a regulation that allowed most individual and group market health plans to use copay accumulator programs. So far, it isn’t clear how CMS will respond to the ruling, likely leaving health plans and PBMs waiting eagerly for guidance from the agency. But one thing is certain: Health insurers aren’t happy about the decision.
Insurers created copay accumulator programs in response to the drug manufacturer practice of offering copay assistance programs — including coupons and copay cards — to defray high out-of-pocket costs patients might face for branded drugs. When copay accumulator programs are applied, health plan enrollees are not allowed to count any direct-to-consumer discounts toward their deductibles or out-of-pocket maximums.