February 4, 2023

The Ohio House passed a long-delayed bipartisan bill without opposition Wednesday  that is designed to enable Ohioans to better afford potentially life-saving medications.

The bill bans a practice known as a copay accumulator, in which health insurers refuse to count any copay assistance patients may receive from drugmakers, churches, nonprofits or family members toward the patient’s annual maximum out-of-pocket payment.

House Bill 135, backed by more than five dozen groups ranging from the Ohio State Medical Association to The AIDS Institute, passed the House Health Committee unanimously on March 16, 2021. But it was mysteriously delayed from being brought to the House floor for more than a year amid opposition from health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Julie Turner of Vandalia, who ran into a copay accumulator that made it harder to get the medication she needed to treat bones weakened by intense radiation and chemotherapy treatments decades ago when she had stage 3 Hodgkin’s Disease as a teen-ager.