Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) and TJ Cox (CA-21) introduced the Inhaler Coverage and Access Now Act (I CAN Act) today, legislation that would require certain high deductible health plans to cover the cost of inhalers for the treatment of any chronic lung disease, including asthma.
“Over 400,000 Alabamians suffer from asthma. High insurance deductibles often lead these patients to delay or forego necessary medical care, increasing both the health risk for asthma sufferers and cost of care down the line,” said Rep. Sewell. “The I CAN Act allows asthma patients with high deductible health plans to get coverage for inhalers below their deductible, removing barriers for a needed treatment which will, in turn, result in healthier patients and lower long-term health care costs.”
"Everyone with asthma should have affordable access to an inhaler," said Rep. Cox. "By forcing people to pay significant out of pocket costs for preventive care like an inhaler, not only do patients have to live in fear of their next asthma episode, but we all end up paying when undoubtedly, more of these individuals end up in the emergency room. I represent California's Central Valley, where unacceptable air quality has been linked to an outsized portion of our population, especially young children, living with asthma. For them and for patients across the country with asthma, I'm proud to introduce the I CAN Act to remove barriers and increase access to inhalers."
The I CAN Act will improve the health outcomes of asthma sufferers by providing patients with coverage of inhaler medication, even if the patient has not reached his or her annual deductible.
The Trump Administration has increased the availability of high-deductible insurance plans that could require patients to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs before their insurance coverage kicks in. Over the past five years, the percentage of covered Americans with a general annual deductible of $2,000 or more for single coverage has grown from 18% to 28%.
These high deductibles can lead patients to delay or forego care, which can significantly impact health outcomes and exacerbate the severity of chronic conditions. These delays can also increase treatment costs when patients do seek medical attention.
The I CAN Act is available here.