A health group is raising awareness about new government rule which could raise consumer medical costs

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) A group is raising awareness around the country about a new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which they say will raise medical costs for the consumer.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is a heath-centered group raising awareness around the country about a new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which they say will raise medical costs for the consumer. (ImageBlocks)

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a heath-centered group of “patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts” whose objective is to raise awareness about chronic disease.

The group says that the new rule proposed by HHS will raise costs for consumers by not allowing direct financial assistance from drug manufacturers to count towards a consumer’s deductible. “It’s an idea that would actually allow insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers to not count a very important support for people, particularly with chronic diseases, in purchasing their medicines,” said Randy Rutta, President and CEO of the American Autoimmune and Related Diseases Association (AARDA), which is affiliated with PFCD.

If passed, the HHS proposal Rutta is referring to would not take effect until 2021. Although the proposal is lengthy and densely-worded, it mentions that the current system allows drug manufacturers to distort market prices by offering coupons to assist consumers in purchasing certain medications. In the previous year when HHS submitted a similar proposal, it claimed that these practices may be increasing drug costs, leading to unnecessary spending by insurers, and being passed back onto consumers in the form of heightened premiums.

The HHS was not immediately available for comment.

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