We hate to gloat, but…

Health Access’ Legislative Advocate, Beth Capell, is beaming.

She’s right — again — and she’s got a Wall Street Journal article, (subscription required) quoting big businesses and insurers such as Marriott International and Aetna, to prove it.

Her unlikely new allies are singing the praises of LOWERING co-pays to cut costs, rather than INCREASING them, as the trend has been the past decade.

“Behind the about-face (on co-pays) is mounting evidence that higher
copayments may not make long-term economic sense. While hey’ve curbed drug
spending in the short run, studies show they’ve also discouraged people from
taking essential medicines.”

As a result, some employers — such as Marriott and Proctor & Gamble — and health plans, mainly Aetna, are reducing or eliminating co-pays for patients with chronic diseases — such as diabetes, and heart disease.

Since eliminating co-pays on asthma drugs, Pitney Bowes, the giant mail managing company, reports spending 19% less ANNUALLY for EACH asthma patient compared with six years ago.

Mariott reports that the expense of waiving and halving copays is more than paid for by their newfound savings.

“Over the next several years, we think we’ll see even better results,” said
JIll Berger, Marriott’s vice president of health and welfare.

Now, Marriott’s going *nuts* — waiving copays all over the place — on childhood immunizations, mammograms and colonoscopies, the Journal reports.

I’m glad these businesses are “discovering” the wisdom of this tactic, and frankly, am a little miffed about why others aren’t following. It’s kind of like getting the oil changed in your car, you do a little regular and preventive maintenance on the front end to avoid something really bad, expensive and hard to explain on the back end.

Hopefully, these new allies can help prosletize on this front, since many of their colleagues have declined to hear it from the experts.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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