New York Lawmakers Pass Nonmedical Switching Legislation, Send to Governor

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On June 19, 2019, the New York Senate passed S. 2849, which would limit the ability for health plans to make formulary changes in the middle of the plan year. This legislation passed the New York House on June 17, 2019 and is currently awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature. In March 2019, Aimed Alliance sent a letter to lawmakers in support of this legislation. Nonmedical switching is an important consumer protection issue because consumers enroll in a health plan under the belief that their treatments will be covered at a contracted rate for the full plan year, but health plans can undermine this by changing the coverage status of medications in the middle of the plan year unless prohibited by law. This practice is unfair to consumers because they typically cannot enroll in a different health plan except during the open enrollment period, which leaves them with few options for accessing the medications they need for the remainder of the plan year. Stable patients who cannot afford their current treatment may be forced to switch to a different medication.

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