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Legislature OKs Bill Carrying Patient Protections for Insurer Changes to Specialty Prescription Drug Prices

Monday, April 16, 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 Legislature late last night.

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. “I am grateful that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle joined together and made it easier for Alaska families to have more time to plan, prepare and seek alternatives when obtaining treatment through these specialized medications.”

HB 218 will now be transmitted to the governor for signature. Once signed, the bill will become law January 1, 2013.

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