The pharmaceutical industry could see windfall profits from a little-noticed tweak to the insurance market tucked into the Trump administration’s draft executive order on drug prices, experts say.
The short, technical paragraph calls for the Internal Revenue Service to allow patients with high-deductible health plans to receive care for chronic diseases, including drugs, before meeting their deductibles.
This allowance, known as a “safe harbor,” could be welcome news for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or asthma stuck with skimpy plans. For example, a diabetes patient could fill her prescription for insulin with just a copay, even if she hadn’t spent enough on medical bills for her insurance coverage to kick in. But in the long term, experts say, extending a safe harbor to chronic care would encourage more employers to adopt these skimpy plans, while shielding the pharmaceutical industry from pressure to lower drug costs.