April 25, 2023

AB 874 was not heard in committee today, April 25th,  as originally planned, after Assembly Health Committee Chair Jim Wood decided to pull the bill last week.

In his communication with the bill’s author, Assemblymember Akilah Weber, Wood cited concerns about cost and the use of coupons. While Dr. Weber is committed to moving this bill forward, the late notice from the Committee Chair did not allow her office to address his concerns in time to have the bill heard.

AB 874 will now be a 2-year bill.  This means Dr. Weber and the Coalition will have another chance next year to get the bill through committee and both houses to land on the Governor’s desk by end of session, 2024.

While this is disappointing, it is also an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to protect California patients, continue to educate about this critical issue and focus our advocacy efforts on a strategy that will address the challenges this legislation faces.

We want to express our appreciation to Dr. Weber for her commitment to advancing this bill and to all and each of our coalition members for their invaluable support from the beginning.  All Copays Count in California‘s work to ban the use of copay accumulators in California continues.

What is AB 874 and what will it do?

Assembly Bill 874 will require that health care plans apply the value of patient assistance to a patient’s deductible and out-of-pocket maximum expenses.  This will essentially ban the use of copay accumulators and ensure copay assistance reduces patients’ costs instead of increasing profits for insurers.  All Copays Count in California, a coalition of more than 75 organizations representing patients, medical providers and health advocates, sponsored AB 874.  The author of the bill, Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-79), introduced AB 874 in the Assembly in February.

A bit of background on patient assistance and copay accumulators-

Copay accumulator programs allow health insurers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to prevent copay assistance given to patients from counting towards their deductible and maximum out-of-pocket spending.  Copay assistance is provided by drug manufacturers, charitable foundations and other third parties to help patients pay for their prescriptions.