April 30, 2010
Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) worked closely with representatives of the Florida Insurance Council to achieve a statutory revision that is critical to Florida employers. Today, on this last day of Session, the Florida Legislature passed a little known, but very significant, statutory change to the Florida Workers' Compensation Act as part of the adopted state budget.
Prescription medication costs for workers' compensation cases have risen dramatically in Florida, but not because of legitimate price increases. Rather, some medical providers and drug repackaging companies have been working around the statutory pharmacy fee schedule at an annual cost of more than $100 million to Florida employers and carriers.
Medications are produced in bulk by manufacturers and repackaged for individual use by doctors' offices. Repackaging changes or eliminates the drug identification number, thus taking it off the fee schedule.
According to preliminary research done by CWCI and the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, some unscrupulous providers charge between 400 and 700 percent more than what's charged at a pharmacy for the same medication.
Fortunately, Sen. Carey Baker (R-Eustis) and Rep. Alan Hayes (R-Umatilla) took action during the 2010 Legislative Session and rewrote the statutory fee schedule to prevent this "legal loophole," returning pharmacy costs to a reasonable and predictable level. NCCI estimates this will save more than $100 million to current annual workers' compensation costs and should help to prevent future workers' compensation premium increases.
"Florida employers have fought too hard to maintain an affordable and sustainable work comp system to let this expensive and unbridled gaming of the system continue. This legislation will protect and maintain the balanced system our state's workers' comp laws are intended to protect," said AIF General Counsel Tammy Perdue
AIF proudly salutes and thanks Sen. Baker and Rep. Hayes for working closely with us to pass this important statutory change and manage the legislation in a way that ensured its passage through the sometimes tenuous legislative process.