Commissioner Causey issues bulletin aiding people needing prescription refills during weather state of emergency

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has issued a bulletin which, combined with a state of emergency declared by Gov. Roy Cooper, directs health insurance companies providing prescription benefits to waive time restrictions on filling or refilling prescriptions if requested by the covered person.

Due to remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto which brought sustained rains, flooding, road closures, and landslides to many areas of western North Carolina, a state of emergency was issued for the following North Carolina counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Lincoln, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Polk, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, and Wilkes.

Insurance companies licensed by the Department of Insurance that provide prescription benefits must waive or override “refill too soon” messages from the insurer that might otherwise prevent a pharmacy from refilling a prescription.

For North Carolina residents needing prescriptions filled or refilled, that means insurers must enable covered people or subscribers to (1) obtain one refill on a prescription if there are authorized refills remaining; or (2) fill one replacement prescription for one that was recently filled, as prescribed or approved by the prescriber of the prescription that is being replaced and not contrary to the dispensing authority of the dispensing pharmacy.

This requirement is effective for 29 days after the Commissioner of Insurance issues a bulletin to the insurance industry advising of the emergency or disaster and the counties in the state affected. The bulletin was issued on Wednesday, May 30.

This provision applies statewide.

NOTE: The N.C. Pharmacy Board will also be notified although they have their own emergency event procedure for licensed pharmacies to follow to allow such extra Rx during declared events.

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.