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The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) applauds UnitedHealthcare’s (UHC) recent announcement about epinephrine and albuterol. As early as 2023, UHC is getting rid of out-of-pocket costs (cost sharing) for drugs used to treat emergencies. This will apply to standard, fully insured group plans. The emergency medicines include:

  • Albuterol – for acute asthma attacks
  • Epinephrine – for severe allergic reactions
  • Glucagon – for hypoglycemia
  • Insulin – for diabetes
  • Naloxone – for opioid overdoses

Albuterol is the most common quick-relief (rescue) medicine used to treat asthma attacks. Without medicines like albuterol, you may not be able to get asthma flare-ups or attacks under control.

Epinephrine is the only treatment for anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. If you have a food, drug, insect, or latex allergy, you should keep epinephrine with you at all times.

Asthma and anaphylaxis can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.

The UHC change will not go into effect right away. If you have a UHC plan, check your plan to find out what albuterol or epinephrine options they prefer. As early as Jan. 1, 2023, eligible plans will offer the preferred drugs at $0 out of pocket.

You can read UHC’s full statement here.

AAFA hopes and encourages other health insurance groups follow UHC’s lead.

People and families managing asthma and allergies face high and rising costs for medicines they need. They need access to affordable health insurance, medicines, and devices. High out-of-pocket costs:

  • Make it more likely that people don’t take their medicines
  • Threaten the patient’s health
  • Worsen health disparities

It is important to stay up to date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive news about advocacy, research, and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other people who manage the same conditions.


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