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Bill Protecting Alaskans' Health Clears Legislature

HB 125 requires insurance companies cover early refills of topical eye meds

Friday, April 12, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska Legislature today unanimously passed a bill allowing patients to receive a limited refill of prescription eye drops if an individual runs out before the prescribed refill date.

House Bill 125, by Representative Lindsey Holmes, requires health insurance providers cover refills for eye drop prescriptions prior to the last day of the prescription period as long as an early refill is approved by a doctor or other prescriber.

Prescription eye drops are currently measured out in the same manner as a pill; one drop equals one dose. Unlike taking a pill, inadvertent wastage can occur from missing the eye or from uneven dispensing of a single drop. “This can be problematic for patients suffering from diseases such as glaucoma, which require daily treatment and will worsen without regular application of drops,” Holmes, R-Anchorage, said. “Doctors have told us that patients simply go days without treatment if they run out, waiting for the designated refill date. This bill gives doctors the flexibility they need to help keep Alaskans healthy.

“The bill reflects collaboration between doctors and the insurance industry and has support from both ophthalmologists and optometrists,” Holmes said. “I would like to thank you my colleagues in the House and Senate for acting quickly and moving this bill through the process. The health of Alaskans has always, and will always, be a priority of mine and I’m glad to have sponsored this bill.”

HB 125 passed the House April 5 and now heads to the Governor for signature.

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