Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Rep. Sewell Secures Prescription Drug Affordability Provision in H.R. 3

Oct 23, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) announced the inclusion of a provision in H.R. 3, the Lower Prescription Drug Costs Now Act, that she authored to allow seniors enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to pay their out-of-pocket drug costs in equal installments over 12 months, rather than all at once.

For many Americans enrolled in the Part D program, current plans require $10,000 or more in out-of-pocket costs every year to access a single drug that they need to treat a serious condition. H.R. 3 caps out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 for seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D, and Sewell’s proposal allows beneficiaries to pay their cost-sharing in equal installments throughout the year rather than all at once. 

“Today we are advancing a historic and transformative piece of legislation that will change the lives of so many of our most vulnerable constituents for the better. As representative of a district with a high population of low-income seniors, I am particularly pleased that we are lowering out of pocket costs for seniors by capping out of pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000,” Sewell said Tuesday in a Ways and Means Committee markup of the bill. “The absence of a cap in the current Part D design creates a scenario where seniors can see their financial stability stripped away due to the unlimited liability they face for out of pocket costs. We fix that in this bill.”

“I was proud to work with Congresswoman Eshoo on a provision to provide more financial certainty for the more than 100,000 seniors in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan,” Sewell said. “Our provision allows beneficiaries to pay their cost-sharing in equal installments throughout the year rather than all at once.”

Burdensome policies that require patients to pay their deductibles in full before their Part D plans take effect create a huge barrier to financial stability for far too many. Studies show high out-of-pocket costs often lead patients to abandon therapy altogether, rather than pay sky-high prices up front, which is both detrimental to the health of the patient and can also increase treatment costs when patients do seek medical attention.

Video of Sewell’s remarks on H.R. 3 is available here.