Report Title:

Prescription drug plan for retired seniors

Description:

Establishes a prescription drug plan open to any retired senior citizen. Appropriates funds.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2653

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to health care financing.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that a need exists for a plan to provide prescription drug coverage for senior citizens. Most senior citizens do not have drug coverage through employer-sponsored plans, and only have medicare coverage, and possibly a medicare-supplement plan.

Health insurers sell prescription drug plans to groups only, not individuals. The only way a senior citizen can enroll in a drug coverage plan is as a member of a group that sponsors a plan.

Medicare does not provide coverage for outpatient prescription drugs. In 1988, Congress passed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act (MCCA), which would have phased in coverage for prescription drugs. However, the year following its enactment, the law was repealed in response to protests from organized senior citizens opposed to paying an additional tax or premium for the additional coverage. If not for the repeal of MCCA, the situation for seniors today would likely be vastly different.

The high cost of prescription drugs is preventing many seniors from obtaining the medicine they need to keep them healthy and out of the hospital. Many seniors must either pay exorbitant prices for needed medication, take less than the prescribed dosage, or forego the medication altogether.

The purpose of this Act is to establish a prescription drug program for all retired senior citizens.

SECTION 2. There is established within the department of health a prescription drug plan into which any retired senior may enroll. The plan shall:

(1) Require initial enrollment periods and disallow re-enrollment for a fixed number of years after a subscriber cancels voluntarily or is cancelled for non-payment of premiums;

(2) Provide for an annual benefit maximum that will be sufficient to meet most subscribers' needs;

(3) Limit enrollment by accepting only those who are retired and sixty-five-years-of-age or older; and

(4) Include a mail-order service, subscriber education plan, and provider education plan.

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2002-2003 for the development of a prescription drug program for qualified applicants.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of health for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2002.

INTRODUCED BY:

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