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Local

Underwood bill aims to cut health care costs

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, introduced a bill this week that would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for common, life-saving drugs used to manage chronic conditions.

The Chronic Condition Copay Elimination Act would require private health insurance plans, including high-deductible health plans, to cover certain preventive care and prescription drugs without charging a copayment, coinsurance or deductible-related fee, according to a news release.

“Costs of these drugs need to come down to help ensure no family struggles because a child has asthma or a mom has high blood pressure, and no patient gets sicker because they can’t afford to take their medicine as prescribed,” Underwood said in the release.

Underwood said in the release that the costs of prescription drugs can get so high that some Americans are skipping their insulin shots if they have diabetes or go without an inhaler even if they have asthma, which makes people sicker.

“It’s devastating families of all income levels,” she said in the release.

The bill would ensure many common medications, devices and screenings used to treat chronic conditions are covered without out-of-pocket costs.

For example, medications used by those with heart disease and depression would be offered to patients without any fees or cost-sharing.

The bill also requires similar offerings for conditions such as osteoporosis, hypertension, liver disease and bleeding disorders.

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