Overbey bill provides transparency to consumers on pharmacy benefits

The State Senate on May 14 unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Doug Overbey that provides transparency to consumers on their pharmacy benefits. Overbey said the bill, SB 774, addresses two important problems related to patient’s understanding their pharmacy benefits and cost of their prescriptions.

“Currently, pharmacies are often prohibited by language in their provider contracts from telling patients what the pharmacy is being paid for their prescriptions, which prevents patients from knowing the costs,” said Senator Overbey. “This legislation prevents that practice and allows pharmacists to give consumers more information regarding what their health plan pays in reimbursement costs.”

The legislation, called the “Patient’s Right to Prescription Transparency Act of 2009,” would prevent a health plan or Pharmacy Benefit Management Company (PBM) from restricting or prohibiting a pharmacy from giving the patient information regarding actual reimbursement. The legislation would also define that percentage based co-pays be calculated based on the total prescription price the plan agrees to pay to the pharmacy.

“Consumers have every right to know what their health plan pays,” Overbey said. “I am very pleased this legislation has received final approval in the State Senate.”

The bill was scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives on May 18, who passed an amendment to it and it was set to go back to the Senate for a final vote on May 21.

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