Picard bill would allow more patients to synch prescription refill dates
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Roger A. Picard has introduced legislation that would require health insurers to give more subscribers an annual opportunity to synchronize the refill dates on their prescriptions.
Currently, insurers are required to allow patients with chronic diseases to synchronize their refill dates. Senator Picard’s legislation aims to extend the opportunity to all patients.
The legislation is aimed at helping patients – particularly older people who may have numerous prescriptions – to manage their medications and save them from having to make frequent trips to pharmacy.
“It’s not at all unusual for an elderly person to have four or five medications, each with a different refill date. Most insurances limit how early you can refill them, so the result is a lot of trips to the store, and a lot of dates to remember. Especially for people who don’t drive, or who have to rely on someone else to pick up their prescriptions, that’s a pretty significant hassle. Allowing people to synchronize their refill dates would be much more convenient, and make prescription management simpler and easier for patients and caregivers,” said Senator Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland).
Under the bill (2018-S 2131), insurers that provide prescription coverage in Rhode Island would be required to allow each subscriber at least one opportunity every year to synch up all prescriptions by partially filling some prescriptions so the refill dates align. The bill requires co-pays or other cost-sharing mechanism to be pro-rated based on the percentage filled.
Senator Picard said he got the idea from a similar law that recently passed in Florida, and it made him think about people like his mother, who have to juggle a complicated schedule of prescription refills.
“This is a relatively small change that would simplify many people’s lives. It would also make it less likely that someone would run out of their medication because they forgot to refill it or because they have trouble getting to the pharmacy,” said Senator Picard.
The bill, is cosponsored by Sen Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), would take effect upon passage. It had a hearing Feb. 15 before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which held it for further study.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903