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House Passes Bill Carrying Patient Protections for Insurer Changes to Specialty Prescription Drug Prices (HB218)

HB 218 requires 90-day notice to help Alaskans plan for changes, alternatives

Thursday, April 5, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Patients requiring increasingly-expensive specialized prescription drugs won protection from quick changes to their insurance coverage thanks to a bill by Rep. Wes Keller that passed the Alaska House today.

House Bill 218 changes the notification requirement from 30 days to 90 days when a health care insurer looks to impose changes to cost-sharing, deductibles, or copayment terms.

“Specialty medications are used to treat complex and chronic diseases, and that invariably means that they’re also expensive. To force a family or individual to make quick changes or decisions during times of medical crisis is egregious,” Keller, R-Wasilla, said. “Prescription drugs are classified in tiers, and this tier is experiencing some pretty startling price growth. This bill will make it so Alaska families and the users of these specialized medications have more to time to plan, prepare or seek alternatives.”

HB 218 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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