197 groups urge HHS to clarify discrimination in Affordable Care Act exchanges
"Without a clear definition that is enforceable, patients with chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s will continue to be at risk," PAN said.
Collectively, the organizations that signed the letter are know as the I Am Essential Coalition. In the letter, the organizations maintain that although measures are in place to define discrimination with regard to certain individuals, "it does not define discriminatory practices in plan benefit design as it relates to all beneficiaries, particularly those with serious and chronic health conditions who rely on prescription medications and other health care services. Therefore, we strongly urge HHS to better define what discriminatory plan practices are in the final rule."
The letter goes on to encourage the inclusion of "regulatory language" that would put "all or nearly all medications to treat a certain condition on the highest tier to be discriminatory."
"Unfortunately, the proposed rule is completely silent in this area and regulators, beneficiaries and insurers are not provided with any clarity on what constitutes discrimination," the letter said. "Additionally, we believe that HHS needs to clarify that the definition of who is protected under Section 1557 is not only limited to beneficiaries who are 'disabled' under the definition in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but to all beneficiaries with chronic health conditions or serious illness."
Other organizations that signed the letter include Advocates for Responsible Care, The AIDS Institute, Alliance for Lupus Research, The ALS Association, American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, American Kidney Fund, American Liver Foundation, American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, California Hepatitis C Task Force, COPD Foundation, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Epilepsy Foundation, Mental Health CO chapter, Fight Colorectal Cancer, Hemophilia Federation of America, Hepatitis B Foundation, Lupus Foundation of America, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Susan G. Komen Treatment Action Group and Veterans of America.
Organizations in this story
Parkinson's Action Network 1025 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005