Rule Restricting Copay Accumulators Has Been Reinstated, Court Clarifies

While many people had closed their laptops and were gearing up to open presents, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia offered a gift to patient advocates that have been fighting for restrictions on private health plans’ use of copay accumulator programs.

In September, Judge John Bates ruled in favor of a challenge brought by patient advocates — including the HIV + Hepatitis Policy Institute, the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition and the Diabetes Leadership Council — to provisions in a 2021 rule that allowed group and individual health plans to apply copay accumulators even when drugs have no therapeutic alternative. Such programs prevent enrollees from counting any drug manufacturer discounts, like copay coupons, toward their deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Insurers and PBMs argue that copay accumulators are necessary to prevent copay coupons from steering patients to high-cost branded drugs — raising costs for everyone — but patient advocates contend that those coupons are necessary to promote affordability amid benefit designs that force patients to bear the brunt of their prescription drug costs.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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