Health Plan Coverage of Prescriptions During Emergencies or Disasters

Suggested State Legislation: This Act allows people in counties declared a disaster or under a state of emergency to refill current prescriptions under their health benefit plan without “refill too soon” limitations if their prescriptions were originally filled or refilled within a period 29 or days or less from the declaration of an emergency or disaster.

Submitted as:
North Carolina
Session Law 2007-133
Status: Enacted into law in 2007.

Suggested State Legislation, 2009 Docket

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(Title, enacting clause, etc.)

Section 1. [Short Title.] This Act shall be cited as “An Act to Waive Limits on Refilling Prescriptions During a State of Emergency or Disaster.”

Section 2. [Coverage for Extra Prescriptions During a State of Emergency or Disaster.]
(a) All health benefit plans as defined in [insert citation], and any optional plans or programs operating under [insert citation], and other stand-alone prescription medication plans issued by entities that are licensed by the [Department] shall have, when an event described in subdivision (b)(1) of this section occurs and the requirements of subdivisions (b)(2) and (b)(3) of this section are satisfied, a procedure in place to waive time restrictions on filling or refilling prescriptions for medication if requested by the covered person or subscriber. The procedure shall include waiver or override of electronic “refill too soon" edits to pharmacies and shall include provision for payment to the pharmacy in accordance with the prescription benefit plan and applicable pharmacy provider agreement. The procedure shall enable covered people or subscribers to:
(1) Obtain one refill on a prescription if there are authorized refills remaining, or
(2) Fill one replacement prescription for one that was recently filled, as prescribed or approved by the prescriber of the prescription that is being replaced and not contrary to the dispensing authority of the dispensing pharmacy.
(b) All entities subject to this section shall authorize payment to pharmacies for any prescription dispensed in accordance with subsection (a) of this section regardless of the date upon which the prescription had most recently been filled by a pharmacist, if all of the following conditions apply:
(1) The [commissioner of insurance] issues a [Bulletin Advisory] notifying all insurance carriers licensed in this state of a declared state of disaster or state of emergency in this state as defined under [insert citation]. The [Department] shall provide a copy of the [Bulletin] to the [state board of pharmacy].(2) The covered person requesting coverage of the refill or  replacement prescription resides in a county that:
a. Is covered under a proclamation of state of disaster issued by the [governor] or by a resolution of the [General Assembly] under [insert citation], or a declaration of major disaster issued by the President of the United States under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5121, et seq., as amended; or
b. Is declared to be under a state of emergency in a proclamation issued by the [governor] under [insert citation].
(3) The prescription medication is requested within [29 days] after the origination date of the conditions stated in subdivision (b)(1) of this section.
(c) The time period for the waiver of prescription medication refills may be extended in [30-day increments] by an order issued by the [Commissioner]. Additional refills still remaining on a prescription shall be covered by the insurer as long as consistent with the orders of the prescriber or authority of the dispensing pharmacy.
(d) This section does not excuse or exempt an insured or subscriber from any other terms of the policy or certificate providing coverage for prescription medications.
(e) Quantity limitations shall be consistent with the original prescription and the extra or replacement fill may recognize proportionate dosage use prior to the disaster.
(f) No requirements additional to those under the pharmacy provider agreement or the prescription benefit plan may be placed upon the provider for coverage of the replacement fill or extra fill.
(g) Nothing in this section is intended to affect the respective authority or scope of practice of prescribers or pharmacies.

Section 3. [Severability.] [Insert severability clause.]

Section 4. [Repealer.] [Insert repealer clause.]

Section 5. [Effective Date.] [Insert effective date.]