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New California Bill to Give Consumers Access to Drug Coverage Information

Posted by lynnesmith in The LLS Blog, 29 September 2014 · 186 views

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that will ensure patients and healthcare consumers have access to accurate, up-to-date drug coverage information when they shop for insurance.

Finding an accurate drug formulary (list of covered medications) had been challenging on California's health insurance exchange, Covered California. Consumers had to navigate cumbersome insurance websites that often didn't give them formularies and provider directories until they had already enrolled in a plan. Not having that information made it difficult for a patient with complex health needs to make informed decisions about what insurance plan is best for them.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), in partnership with several other patient advocacy groups, advocated strongly for this legislation by sending emails as well as tweeting at legislators and the governor and visiting their elected officials in Sacramento and at their district offices. The commitment and dedication of volunteer advocates was key to the bill's passage.

The bill requires the Department of Insurance and the Department of Managed Healthcare to work together to create a standardized template so that all insurance plan formularies include the same information in the same format. Insurance carriers will have to post a URL that links directly to their formulary on Covered California - making it much easier for consumers and patients to make comparisons when shopping for health plans.

Patients with complex diseases like blood cancers need to know that their life-saving drugs are covered and how much they are going to pay before they purchase a plan.
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