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Andrade Renews Efforts to Cap Monthly Prescription Costs

Apr 25, 2016

Imagine living with a chronic condition – like arthritis, epilepsy, HIV, leukemia, multiple sclerosis and many others – and literally not being able to afford your monthly medication costs. As if it’s not bad enough to be sick, imagine having to choose between basic needs and lifesaving medicine. Unfortunately, these types of choices are a reality to many people in Illinois.

Out-of-pocket costs for medications prescribed for people living with chronic conditions have skyrocketed, amounting to hundreds or thousands of dollars in many cases. According to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation released just last week, cost-sharing payments are increasing rapidly, rising by 77 percent between 2004 and 2014. These payments can cost as much as an extra utility bill or more than a month’s rent, devastating a family’s tightly stretched budget. These kinds of prices put critical medications out of reach for people who need them most. Sadly, some may stop taking their medications because of the cost, which ultimately costs the healthcare system and government more through emergency room visits and in-patient stays.

Something must be done to rein in the costs for those who are sick. To help alleviate the burdensome prescription costs, I am sponsoring legislation, House Bill 3605, to cap the amount of money people have to pay out-of-pocket each month for their medications. Cost should never be a barrier to receiving quality health care, and we should prioritize health and quality of life over the bloated financial reserves of insurance companies.

Under my proposal, the monthly cap on out-of-pocket costs for fully-insured patients who are fighting chronic diseases would be either $100 or $200, depending on insurance plans. I am working with a broad coalition of patient advocacy organizations, called the Illinois Access to Affordable Medication (IAAM) Coalition to advance this measure.

With the IAAM Coalition’s support, I hope we will be successful in passing this life-saving legislation that will impact thousands of Illinoisans and make access to affordable medication a priority.