Skip to navigation Skip to content



Society Responds to Copay Accumulator Programs – Barriers to MS Medications

June 27, 2018

To discourage reliance on patient assistance programs (PAPs), a growing number of insurers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers are refusing to count funds from PAPs toward individuals’ annual deductible amount. This results in higher out-of-pocket costs for people with MS or other expensive conditions.  

The Society is eager to hear from people with MS who have encountered these so-called Copay Accumulator Programs to learn how the programs are impacting their ability to stay on their treatments and to find ways to remedy the situation.  

“Medications can only save lives if people can access them – copay accumulator programs can severely limit that access and add to people’s financial burden,” said Bari Talente, Executive Vice President, Advocacy, National MS Society.

“The Society's Access to MS Medications initiative seeks to find solutions to barriers of affordability and access to life-changing medications and to the transparency of costs and coverage of these treatments. Copay accumulator programs create additional barriers to access to disease modifying therapies and other needed healthcare services for some people with MS. We believe a dialogue about patient assistance programs, their benefits, and impact on overall health care costs is a worthwhile part of a patient-centered approach to assure people get the medications and services they need to achieve optimal treatment outcomes and cost savings. 

Until real, sustainable solutions to the challenge of affordably accessing medications are in place, we cannot take away the assistance that so many now rely on to stay on their treatments. We reiterate our call for all stakeholders across the prescription drug supply chain to come together and do their part in bringing real change to the system.

The Society is working in coalition with other patient groups whose constituents are also being impacted by these programs. We will gather and share information, patient stories and resources to promote awareness, understanding and dialogue about the consequences of impeding access to care so that we may permanently eliminate this barrier to ongoing treatment.”

Learn more about frequently asked questions about Copay Accumulator Programs and share your story with Kim Calder at

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


© 2020 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.