This session, Georgia lawmakers are considering legislation that would decrease what Georgia patients, particularly those living with chronic conditions, pay at the pharmacy counter for treatments they need.
Many Georgia patients need consistent and reliable access to the treatments and care prescribed by their health care provider to manage symptoms, control their illness, and lead healthier lives. Over 6 million Georgians are living with at least one chronic condition, such as heart disease, HIV, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
However, insurance barriers and middlemen who work between health insurers and drug manufacturers to negotiate prescription drug prices called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are still blocking access to lifesaving health care for many Georgia patients. Many health insurance companies and PBMs receive significant rebates and discounts from pharmaceutical companies for the cost of medications and treatments, but they don’t pass those savings on to patients receiving the care. This causes Georgians to pay more out of their own pockets for the care they need.
Luckily, Georgia lawmakers are considering legislation that will help Georgia patients access the care they need and stop letting PBMs and insurers pocket drug rebates and discounts.
House Bill 343 (HB 343) aims to reform rebates in Georgia and will increase transparency into health insurer and PBM practices and require insurers and PBMs pass 50% of the rebates they receive from drug companies for the cost of medications onto patients.
HB 343 will require that health insurers and PBMs pass 50% of the rebates they receive from drug companies for the cost of medications directly to patients at the pharmacy counter. Patients will no longer pay the full list price for their medications that offer pharmaceutical rebates (discounts).
HB 343 ensures accountability and transparency by requiring an annual report by insurers on the amounts of rebate passed through to patients. This report is to be submitted to the GA House and GA Senate Health Committees.
HB 343 will reform a system that allows Georgia health insurers and PBMs to improve their bottom lines at the expense of patients, and ensure patients no longer pay full price for drugs that are sold to insurers and PBMs at deep discounts. Georgia is long overdue for reform to ensure that patients receive the savings that PBMs receive through pharmaceutical rebates. States like Arkansas have already passed legislation to ensure 100% of rebates are passed on to patients.
HB 343 passed the GA House in 2023 with a majority and is expected to be heard by the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services early this session. Contact your legislator’s office today and call on them to urge Chairman Ben Watson, MD to place HB 343 on the committee’s agenda!