Gov. Hickenlooper Signs Medicaid Mail Order Prescription Bill

Gov. Hickenlooper Signs Medicaid Mail Order Prescription Bill

PSA from Colorado Dept. of Healthcare Policy & Finance
Marc Williams

Legislation allows maintenance prescription orders by mail

DENVER, CO – Today Governor Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 16-027 into law which will allow Medicaid members the option to get their health maintenance medications through the mail. Previously, Medicaid members could only get maintenance medications through the mail in very limited circumstances, such as a proven physical hardship. This legislation will increase convenience and efficiency while improving consumer choice and health outcomes.

“This legislation is another example of how Colorado continues to drive health care transformation. Mail order prescriptions increase our members’ access and choices,” said Susan E. Birch, MBA, BSN, RN, executive director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. “This is an important piece of our Department’s continual work toward modernizing Medicaid delivery systems to engage our members, improve quality of care and make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

Any medication that is taken regularly such as prescriptions for asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are now eligible for mail delivery. Medicaid members will experience more flexibility with the implementation of this new law as they will have the option to go to any Medicaid participating pharmacy.

“The Department is excited for this improvement because research has shown people who receive their chronic health medications through the mail often have better drug adherence,” said Dr. Judy Zerzan, MD, chief medical officer. “People are less likely to run out of medication or skip doses when their prescriptions are delivered to the home at regular intervals.”

Many local and independent pharmacies already offer mail delivery programs for their private insurance customers. These pharmacies have an opportunity to increase the number of people they serve now that Medicaid members may use their mail programs without having to prove a physical hardship. Opioids and other narcotics are not eligible for the mail order program as federal law prohibits their distribution through the mail.

This new law, which takes effect July 1, 2016, will provide a more cost-effective delivery system. Mail order prescriptions are delivered in 90 day quantities, rather than 30 day quantities provided during a trip to the pharmacy. This reduces the number of dispensing fees Medicaid pays. The Colorado Legislative Council projects mail order prescriptions will result in $1.7 million in savings in FY 2017-18.

Senate Bill 16-027 was sponsored by Senators Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) and Beth Martinez-Humenik (R-Thornton) and Representatives Dianne Primavera (D-Broomfield) and Lois Landgraf (R-Fountain).