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Governor Cuomo Should Veto Rx Synchronization Bill

The New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans urges Governor Cuomo to veto the legislation that would require health plans to permit “short-fill” prescription synchronization.

In the case of this bill, synchronization means the coordination of refill dates for two or more prescription medications by short-filling (providing less than a 30 day supply) a person’s prescriptions to allow them to receive all of their prescriptions on the same date.

Health insurers would be required to cover short-fills that have nothing to do with a synchronization plan for an unlimited number of prescriptions. The bill also requires health insurers to accept a pro-rated cost sharing amount for the short-fill, though it is unknown how this would even be calculated or what prescriptions would be eligible.

This bill attempts to replicate Medicare’s synchronization policy without actually incorporating any of the safeguards or cost sensitivity measures that were included in the Medicare regulation to ensure it would be viable.

Expanding access to short-fills across the board without any limitations will only result in a windfall to drug manufacturers and retail pharmacies while driving up costs for consumers. Prescription drug costs remain among the fastest growing costs in health care. While the goal of the bill is laudable, all stakeholders should be engaged in a balanced approach. The New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans urges that this bill not be enacted.