AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement in response to today’s New York State Assembly passage of a bill to prohibit health plans from changing out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and other terms on enrollees in the middle of their contract year:
“This bill to ban health plans from raising out-of-pocket drug costs on enrollees in the middle of a contract year is step one in the effort to protect New Yorkers from the skyrocketing expense of prescription drugs.
“AARP applauds Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes and the Assembly for passing this bill (A2969A) and we urge the Senate to pass Senator Breslin’s companion legislation (S2849A) and Governor Cuomo to sign it into law.
“Many consumers choose their health plan based on the availability and affordability of the prescription drugs they need. But health plans can change the rules in the middle of contract years, which often means the consumer pays a higher deductible, copayment or coinsurance price for those drugs. We’ve heard from many of our members who feel that’s unfair. They’re right.
“Prescription drug prices grew four times the rate of inflation from 2006 to 2017 and Americans pay the highest brand-name drug prices in the world. The state should do all it can to attack this problem.
“Enacting this bill would be a start.
“AARP is also urging state lawmakers to pass bills allowing the safe importation of prescription drugs (S5682-Skoufis/A7588-Gottfried), requiring pharmaceutical companies to reveal “pay to delay” deals in which they pay to keep lower-priced generic drugs from reaching the market sooner (S5169-Biaggi/A7196-DenDekker), and empowering the state attorney general to prosecute drug-makers for price gouging (S141-Carlucci/A6606-Crespo; and S1798-Rivera/A3829-McDonald). Our efforts are part of AARP’s nationwide Stop Rx Greed campaign.”