Claxton bill to help Mainers get needed medications with less hassle gets unanimous committee support

|Press release from the Maine Legislature Senate Majority Office|

AUGUSTA – On Thursday, March 18, a bill from Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, received a unanimous, bipartisan vote of support from the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee. As amended, LD 523, “An Act Regarding Prior Authorizations for Prescription Drugs,” would help speed up the process in which insurance providers approve coverage of prescription medications.

“At the end of the day, this bill will improve care and outcomes for patients across Maine,” said Sen. Claxton, who practiced family medicine in the greater Auburn community for 40 years. “If a prescriber knows what drugs do or do not need a prior authorization in real time, as they’re deciding what medications to prescribe, we can save everyone some additional hassle and make sure that folks are really getting the medications they need in a timely fashion. I’m glad stakeholders, committee members and others were able to come together and agree on a solid bill that will bring some much needed change to this system.”

LD 523 would require an insurance carrier and its pharmacy benefits manager to adopt at least one electronic tool for real-time communication between them and a health care provider. By providing prescribers with real-time feedback on whether a medicine is covered by insurance or a prior authorization is needed, health professionals can make more informed decisions from the outset. Patients will get their medications more quickly and easily and they will know what the cost will be when they get to the pharmacy. Studies have shown that about a third of patients don’t return to pick up their medication when there is a delay in filling a prescription.

LD 523 faces votes before the Senate and House.

FMI contact: Lisa Haberzettl [Claxton], 207-251-3548