In an effort to ensure New Jersey residents are able to maintain a supply of the medicines they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, Assembly members Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Annette Quijano and Andrew Zwicker sponsor a bill mandating health insurance coverage of certain prescription refills during an emergency. The legislation unanimously passed both the Assembly and the Senate Thursday.
The bill (A-3970/S-2344) requires Medicaid and other health insurance carriers offering a health benefits plan in New Jersey that provides coverage for pharmacy services or prescription drugs, to cover refills that would give individuals at least a 30-day supply of prescription medicines or a 90-day supply of maintenance medications, in the event a public health emergency or state of emergency is declared.
Insurance carriers would have to cover a refill that fulfills the minimum 30-day requirement even if the person had not yet reached their scheduled refill date. In addition, no fees could be applied for the delivery of these medicines.
Upon the bill’s passage, the three sponsors issued the following statements:
“Whenever our state is facing an emergency situation that will go on for some time, it’s important to make sure residents have access to the medicines they need throughout the crisis,” said Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson (D-Hunterdon, Mercer). “Especially in the event of an infectious pandemic, limiting the number of times an individual has to go out in public to obtain the essential supplies they need can help slow the spread of the virus.”
“By mandating coverage of prescription refills even before the usual refill date, we can help residents stock up on critical medications at fewer intervals,” said Assemblywoman Quijano (D-Union) “This will allow them to stay home for longer periods of time without having to face adverse health effects from either a lack of medicine or increased exposure to the virus.”
“As legislators, we have the responsibility to help make sure New Jersey residents are taken care of during public health emergencies such as the one we are currently facing,” said Assemblyman Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset).“This legislation is one way we can help keep more residents safe during these uncertain times.”