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Legislation to Keep Life-saving Drugs Affordable Advances to the Senate Floor
Date:2/29/2012

PHOENIX, Feb. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Arizona Alliance for Chronic Care (AACC), an assembly of 21 organizations representing thousands of Arizonans living with complex medical conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, Lou Gehrig's disease and many others, marks a small win with the advancement of SB 1401. Scheduled to be heard in the next few weeks, SB 1401 protects patients from new, unfair out-of-pocket costs and keeps budgeting for specialized prescriptions predictable.

"SB 1401 assures that working class people with chronic conditions can continue to pay their own way and afford needed prescriptions," said Cindy Komar, executive director of the Arizona Hemophilia Association and member agency of the AACC.  "Long term it could keep people out of 'indigent' status and off of healthcare programs paid for by the Arizona tax payer." 

SB 1401 is practical, fair legislation that protects Arizonans who require specialized prescriptions to live or maintain their quality of life. Across the nation, these patients are being targeted by insurance plans trying to carve out higher profits by categorizing medication by a cost-related tier formulary. Referred to as 'specialty tiers' by health plans the approach is a cost-sharing tactic that disproportionately impacts patients suffering from chronic diseases—many of which require a lifetime of medication to treat. Drugs in a specialty tier are assigned coinsurance rates where the patient pays a percentage of the drug cost; a drastic difference to the set dollar amount co-payments which most consumers are accustomed to.

For people living with chronic conditions the specialty tier trend could lead to bankruptcy and devastating changes in overall health and quality of life. Real-life local scenarios from AACC members, willing to share their s
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SOURCE Arizona Alliance for Chronic Care
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