In a reverse course from its stance a year ago, CMS recently finalized a rule allowing nongrandfathered individual and group market plans to not count manufacturer copayment assistance toward members’ annual deductible and out-of-pocket responsibilities. Known as copay accumulator programs, they began appearing on the pharmaceutical industry’s radar a couple of years ago — and Zitter Insights research reveals their popularity is showing no sign of slowing.
Traditionally, when a manufacturer provides copay assistance for one of its drugs, that dollar amount would count toward the patient’s deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. Once people hit their annual limit, their insurer picks up their prescription costs for the rest of the year. But copay accumulator programs prevent those manufacturer-provided funds from applying to the deductible and out-of-pocket max. Instead, when members have used all of the copay assistance available to them, their payments then start counting toward their deductible and out-of-pocket costs.