May 1, 2013
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Workers’ Compensation Coalition, on behalf of its more than 60 members, today commended members of the Florida House and Senate for unanimously passing Senate Bill 662 that addresses the drug repackaging loophole in Florida’s workers’ compensation system once and for all, and establishes fairness with workers' compensation prescription reimbursement rates. The legislation was a priority for the Workers’ Compensation Coalition and contains compromise language that clarifies the maximum costs for prescription medications that physicians are allowed to charge when they treat workers' compensation patients.
“We have vehemently supported legislation to close the drug repackaging loophole over the past few years and we are thrilled to see this legislation pass with such support out of the Florida Legislature,” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida (AIF). “Our workers’ compensation system has been on a path of continuous improvement since sweeping changes to the system were made in 2003, and on behalf of our members and Florida’s businesses, we thank the Legislature for passing this important fix that will allow these improvements to continue.”
“On behalf of our coalition, we thank Senator Hays and Representative Hudson for spearheading this worthy effort that will result in significant savings to Florida employers, and we thank members of the Legislature for their overwhelming support,” said Tamela Perdue, general counsel for AIF. “Year after year, we have come together to support proposals that would reinstate the necessary balance for the system to continue to see improvement and lower rates, and this year, these efforts have come to fruition.”
The National Council of Compensation Insurance, Inc. (NCCI) has estimated that workers’ compensation system costs resulting from prescription drug markups totaled $250 million over a five-year period from 2007-2011. The NCCI has predicted that passage of Senate Bill 662 will result in savings to Florida’s employers as part of their rate filing this fall, and a total of $20 million in savings to the workers’ compensation system.
“This legislation honors the intent for which our workers’ compensation system was created, which is to ensure that any injured worker receives the care and benefits they need at a fair and affordable cost to the employer,” said Perdue. “The legislation would ensure that employers will no longer be forced to pay excessive markups on prescription drugs without limiting patient choice on where they want to receive their medications. This is a wonderful success for our coalition and for all impacted parties of our workers’ compensation system.”
Senate Bill 662 now heads to Governor Rick Scott for his signature, and if signed, would go into effect on July 1, 2013.
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Associated Industries of Florida recognized the urgent need for significant reform to Florida’s workers’ compensation system and formed the Workers’ Compensation Coalition of Business and Insurance Industry to educate lawmakers about the nature of the system, its potential for failure or success, and to develop viable solutions that would reduce fraud, lower rates and create a healthy workers’ compensation market. The Workers’ Compensation Coalition, and its more than 60 members, has spearheaded the most recent workers’ compensation reforms of 2003, which have resulted in remarkable savings for employers, decreased time away from work for employees, and improved enforcement of the laws governing the workers’ compensation system.