Epilepsy Association of Central Florida applauds Legislation to protect vulnerable Floridians from dangerous insurance coverage changes
[subtitle] Florida Patient Stability Act Ensures that Floridians with Chronic, Complex or Rare Medical Conditions Can Stay on the Treatments that Keep Them Stable [/subtitle]
Tallahassee, FL- January 20, 2016 – The Epilepsy Association of Central Florida today applauded State Representative Debbie Mayfield (R-Vero Beach) and State Senator Alan Hays (R- Umatilla) for introducing legislation to protect Floridians with chronic, complex and rare illnesses from unforeseen health insurance changes that could put their health at risk.
The new legislation, known as the Patient Stability Act (HB 915 / SB 1142), prohibits commercial health plans and pharmacy benefit managers from making coverage changes that force stable Floridians living with complex, chronic or rare medical conditions off of the medications keeping them healthy – as long as patients stay on the same health plan.
Additionally, the Patient Stability Act would prevent health plans and pharmacy benefit managers in the state from increasing these patients’ out-of-pocket costs mid-plan year or moving their medications to a more restrictive and inaccessible formulary tier during the health plan year.
“Floridians with chronic, complex, and rare illnesses often spend years working with their doctor to find therapies that stabilize their condition,” said Representative Debbie Mayfield during a press conference to unveil the legislation today at the Florida State Capitol. “But now, unfortunately, staying on that effective treatment is becoming far more difficult. We need to act to keep commercial health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers from making coverage changes to force stable Floridians off of the treatments that are keeping them healthy and out of the hospital.
Mayfield continued, “Floridians living with complex and chronic conditions should not have to live in fear that the medications they rely on will be placed out of reach. We need to enact the Patient Stability Act to make sure that the insurance coverage Floridians sign up for will be what they receive.”
Charles Carmen, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Central Florida, also commented, “People living with epilepsy have for years reported experiencing seizures and other harmful side effects after switching from one version of an anti-epileptic drug to another. When treating epilepsy, even very small changes in the amount of medication or in the formula of the medication can mean the difference between a fully controlled condition and breakthrough seizures, which can cause bodily harm and severely limit a person’s mobility and livelihood. Our state needs the Patient Stability Act to make sure Floridians with epilepsy and other chronic, complex or rare medical conditions can stay on the treatments that are working for them.”
About the Epilepsy Association of Central Florida
Established in 1962, The Epilepsy Association of Central Florida (EACF) is a not-for-profit community based organization dedicated to serving the needs of those affected by epilepsy. EACF is a totally local, IRS approved direct-service agency where 100% of the funds we receive stay to serve the citizens of Central Florida. We are governed by a local elected volunteer Board of Directors that represent a cross section of professionals, civic leaders, and consumers that are responsible for directing the activities of our agency. For more information, visit http://epilepsyassociation.com.
About the Florida Patient Stability Coalition
The Florida Patient Stability Coalition is a group of patient and provider groups dedicated to enacting legislation to help Floridians with chronic, complex or rare conditions continue to access the medical treatments that keep them healthy. Members of the coalition include The AIDS Institute, AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families, The Arc of Florida, Epilepsy Association of Central Florida, Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, Florida Academy of Family Physicians, Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Florida Chapter American College of Cardiology, Florida Chapter, American College of Physicians, Florida Gastroenterological Society, Florida Legal Services, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, Florida Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Florida Society of Rheumatology, H.E.A.L.S. of the South, Lupus Foundation of Florida, NAMI Florida, Suncoast Epilepsy Association, and U.S. Pain Foundation