Senate Bipartisan Cost-sharing Reduction Payments Letter

September 12, 2017

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Senator,

Partners for Better Care (Partners) applauds the recent bipartisan activity to stabilize premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and the individual health insurance market. Partners’ members are patient advocacy organizations and a diverse group of healthcare stakeholders, including manufacturers and payers, representing more than 100 million patients living with a wide range of debilitating conditions. Specifically, we look forward to working with you and your office to ensure cost-sharing reduction payments are secured on a longer-term basis.

Congress can and must act to ensure stability in the marketplace and ease the escalating burden of patient out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and cost-sharing for medical services and treatments. As you know, uncertainty in insurer subsidy payments, also known as cost-sharing reductions, has created significant concerns for patients in the individual health insurance market. Insurer subsidy payments are critical for low-income patients who rely them to offset copays and deductibles. These payments make coverage accessible for many patients and families who otherwise could not afford health insurance or care.

We are encouraged by the bipartisan effort and urge swift enactment of a stabilization package that protects patients and strengthens the marketplace. Partners looks forward to working with Congress to help stabilize premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and the individual market.

Partners and its members are eager to serve as a resource to you and other policymakers as individual market stabilization changes are being considered. If we can provide additional information or if you would like to meet with Partners for further discussion, please contact me at MRichards@PartnersforBetterCare.org.

Sincerely,

Mary Richards

Executive Director, Partners for Better Care

 

2017 Health Care Principles

Partners for Better Care (“Partners”) is a coalition led by patients and their allies advocating for the next generation of healthcare. Our members are patient advocacy organizations and a diverse group of healthcare stakeholders, including industry and payers, who are working together with policymakers to develop the best solutions to today’s healthcare challenges. Partners represents more than 100 million patients living with a wide range of chronic and acute conditions, and we believe that Americans should have access to the necessary care to improve their health and the health of their families.

With the strong backbone of our nonpartisan Patient Charter, Partners’ members developed 2017 health care principles. As experts on patient-centered care, Partners and its members are proud to serve as a resource to policymakers and thought leaders. We remain committed to working with Congress, the Administration and other healthcare stakeholders to advance the following priorities:

  1. Ensure health plans provide meaningful coverage and an appropriate scope of benefits. All plans – whether offered by employers or provided through the private or public market, including Medicare and Medicaid—must include coverage of preventive services, tools for management of chronic conditions, coordinated care and specialist care, innovative therapies and technologies, and mental health services
  2. Ensure access to quality care by preventing pre-existing conditions and rating restrictions, as well as maintaining diverse risk pools and restricting plans from excluding or limiting coverage for one type of patient or condition. We must ensure that all individuals, particularly those with chronic conditions, cannot be denied coverage, charged unreasonable premiums or denied renewability.
  3. Enhance affordability and reduce out-of-pocket costs by maintaining subsidies and seeking new, creative mechanisms to limit cost shifting to patients.
  4. Maintain the ban on annual and lifetime limits to ensure patients and their families receive needed medical care throughout the year and over a lifetime. For patients, annual and lifetime caps on treatments, therapies, and other care can contribute to significant complications, including limiting the ability to work.
  5. Continue to allow young adults to stay on their parents’ plan through age 26, which makes health insurance easier to obtain and more affordable for all. Young people living with debilitating conditions need consistent, affordable and accessible treatments and therapies.
  6. Ensure quality Medicare and Medicaid coverage so our nation’s seniors, disabled and low-income individuals in all states have access to the coverage, services and care they need.
  7. Encourage value, quality and cost innovations through the development of patient-centered approaches that incorporate the patient experience as well as data on policy development and value strategies.

Partners and its members believe that every American should have access to affordable, high-quality, patient-centered coverage in 2017 and beyond. We look forward to working with other healthcare stakeholders, Congress, the Administration and leaders on both sides of the aisle to ensure that changes to the health system work for all Americans, especially those living with debilitating conditions.

For more information about Partners, our healthcare principles or Patient Charter, please visit PartnersforBetterCare.org or contact Mary Richards, Executive Director, at MRichards@PartnersforBetterCare.org.