Have you heard the term “shrinkflation” yet? It means that while the price of a product has not gone up at all, the size of the product itself has shrunk. So, it’s not your imagination when that bag of potato chips has more air at the top of the bag or that those cookies you used to buy are smaller than you remember.

It’s sneaky, sure, but an informed consumer can always choose not to buy that product, or to choose a competitor’s offering.

However, what happens when we are talking about something much more important than a bag of potato chips being subject to shrinkflation? What if it’s something that we can’t live without or have very few or no other options – like health insurance? Unfortunately, we aren’t just seeing shrinkflation in consumer products. Health insurance companies have now also found their way into the game. Your premiums may not be going up, but in some cases, the quality and extent of coverage is not what it used to be.

Take “accumulator” policies, for example. These are a relatively new phenomenon that is more frequently being snuck into our health insurance plans. Essentially, accumulators make it so that third-party copay assistance for prescription drugs is not counted toward a patient’s maximum out-of-pocket. What that means is that when someone other than the patient – whether it’s a church group, GoFundMe page, or manufacturer program – offers to cover part of the cost of a prescription drug, the insurance company or PBM still makes the patient cover their entire deductible. That means it comes out of your pocket.

Accumulators (and similar programs like “maximizers”) are nothing more than shrinkflation in health insurance. You pay the same premiums, but because they do not apply money to your deductible that should otherwise be applied, you don’t get the same coverage and end up paying more out-of-pocket. This is also sneaky, but it has a much bigger impact on people’s lives than a few potato chips.

Most people with accumulators attached to their plans don’t even know that they have them. Your health insurance policy contract is a huge document that few of us read in-depth, and even fewer truly understand. Worst of all, accumulators hurt those who need copay assistance the most, usually those with rare diseases and the highest-cost prescription drugs, such as cancer patients.

There is a bill making its way through the legislature that would prohibit these accumulator policies. SB 354 is a bipartisan bill that the American Cancer Society is spearheading. It has the support of leadership in both parties in both the Senate and the House. In fact, the only people that oppose this legislation are the insurance companies and PBMs.

The argument in favor of accumulator policies, according to insurance companies and PBMs, is that they lower costs across their premiums. This would be a compelling argument if it were true, but it simply is not. Nineteen states have passed legislation like SB 354 and have not seen an increase in premiums. In fact, in several states, premiums have actually decreased. There is absolutely no data showing that SB 354 would raise premiums.

Joe Biden’s terrible economic policies have driven inflation up and up, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Granite Staters are struggling to find the money they need to pay their bills and feed their families. We have the opportunity to make a difference for those who need it the most right now by lowering their out-of-pocket costs on prescription drugs. I am proud to support SB 354, and I strongly encourage my fellow legislators to do the same. When they keep reaching into your pocket, don’t let them get away with it.