Good News for Patients With High-Deductible Health Plans

Dan Leonard, NPC President and CEO

For patients who are covered under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), January can bring sticker shock when their deductible requirements reset to zero and they begin paying out-of-pocket for medicines and doctor visits. In a commentary for Specialty Pharmacy Times, National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) President and CEO Dan Leonard explains how new guidance from the United States Treasury will likely ease this annual financial blow for patients with chronic diseases.

The new guidance from Treasury expands the list of preventive care benefits, including medical care services and prescription drugs for certain chronic conditions, that can be covered before the deductible is met in HDHPs that are linked to health savings accounts (HSAs). The bottom line for patients: specific preventive care for conditions like congestive heart failure, asthma, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease can now be covered before the deductible is met.

Mr. Leonard noted that it’s not just patients who stand to benefit from this change. Citing research supported by NPC and conducted by VBID Health, he said, “The cost to the federal government of expanding the existing safe harbor to include chronic disease prevention would be close to zero, if not a small saver. Given the growing nature of the HSA-eligible HDHP market, improvements to the law or regulation to allow pre-deductible coverage for secondary prevention could materially improve the lives of those living with chronic conditions in these plans.”

Read the full commentary on the Specialty Pharmacy Times website.