Legislation Would Secure Access to Critical Healthcare for Quarter of a Million Americans With Chronic & Life-Threatening Diseases

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 22, 2018) – The Marketplace Access Project (MAP), a group of leading national patient advocacy organizations dedicated to protecting non-profit insurance premium and cost-sharing assistance for individuals suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses, today announced that it has reached 100 bipartisan cosponsors for the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act (H.R. 3976). This commonsense legislation, introduced by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), would protect non-profit patient assistance by modifying a policy issued by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to require health insurance companies to accept third-party premium and cost-sharing payments from non-profit organizations that operate in compliance with the False Claims Act.

“Charity assistance is often the last lifeline for patients living with chronic and life-threatening diseases,” said Dana Kuhn, Ph.D., president and founder of Patient Services, Inc., the founding member of MAP. “We’re encouraged that so many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have recognized the invaluable service that patient assistance charities provide and unified behind this bill. Patient wellbeing is a nonpartisan issue and we urge all members of Congress to sign on and swiftly pass H.R. 3976.”

CMS issued on March 19, 2014 federal guidance on third-party insurance payments for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchange plans. In direct contradiction to the standard currently followed by Medicare, CMS failed to include non-profit charities on the list of acceptable premium arrangements for patients covered by qualified health plans. Insurers in 42 states are now citing this guidance to deny coverage to patients with devastating and expensive conditions by rejecting the premium and cost-sharing assistance they were previously receiving from third-party charities, effectively undermining the intent of the ACA and unraveling the safety net patient assistance groups have worked so hard to create. If passed, H.R. 3976, which received 147 bipartisan cosponsors last Congress under the bill number H.R. 3742, would create a carve-out for non-profits to provide premium and cost-sharing assistance under the CMS third-party guidance.

“Patient assistance charities don’t just help save lives, they divert costs away from resource-strapped government programs,” added Kuhn. “Without donation-based charities to help patients living with rare and chronic conditions cover the prohibitive costs, the government would be forced to foot the bill, and that’s just for those lucky enough to qualify for public health care programs. It’s time for Congress to pass H.R. 3976 and let charities be charitable.”

For more information on the Marketplace Access Project, visit www.marketplaceaccess.org.
About MAP
The Marketplace Access Project (MAP) is a patient advocacy movement dedicated to protecting non-profit insurance premium and cost-sharing assistance for individuals suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses. MAP supports the Access to Marketplace Insurance Act (H.R. 3976), bipartisan legislation that would secure non-profit premium and cost-sharing assistance for patients enrolled in qualified health plans and help ensure health care coverage that works for everyone. For more information, visit www.marketplaceaccess.org, or follow MAP on Twitter (@AccessProjectUS) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplaceaccess).