WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced legislation to help seniors afford their medications. The drug package recently passed out of the Senate Finance Committee would put a limit on the yearly amount of money a patient could be required to pay out of pocket for their medications. The Seniors Prescription Drug Relief Act would allow seniors who reach that limit early to spread their payments over the course of the entire year. This helps seniors on fixed incomes or who would otherwise struggle to pay their entire out of pocket expenses in a lump sum.
“As a doctor, ensuring patients can afford their care is a top priority,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill improves the Senate’s legislation to lower drug prices and eases the burden on seniors struggling to pay for their medication.”
“Not only do we need to cap seniors’ costs under Medicare Part D, we need to make sure that patients who rely on expensive medications don’t get saddled with an unaffordable prescription drug bill at the start of every year. No senior should have to face a choice between paying a massive prescription drug bill up-front and all at once or forgoing their prescribed medication because they can’t,” said Senator Menendez. “That’s why our legislation provides seniors faced with high upfront costs with the ability to pay over time, throughout the year. We’ve got to do all we can to knock down every barrier that could prevent our seniors from getting the prescription drug treatments they need to live full and healthy lives.”
This legislation is endorsed by the National Health Council, one of the Nation’s largest patient advocacy organizations:
“We are very supportive of the House and Senate proposals to create a cap on out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. However, we are concerned that some people will still not be able to afford their copays and deductibles if the costs all occur in the early part of the year. This important piece of legislation would greatly help people with chronic conditions manage the costs of their care,” said Marc Boutin, JD, Chief Executive Officer, National Health Council.
Organizations supporting the bill include: American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lupus Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS Institute, and Susan G. Komen.