Opioid Bill Heads to President; Includes Rx Reporting Requirement

The Senate sent a massive package of opioid legislation to President Trump on Wednesday (Oct. 3) by a vote of 98-1. The package, approved by the House last week, aims to stem the opioid crisis through a broad range of bipartisan provisions that address aspects of prevention, treatment, research and enforcement. The president has said he will sign the bill.

The final legislation eliminates a House proposal to require that employer health plans pay for the care of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients for an additional three months (or a total of 33 months) before Medicare coverage begins. However, insurers and third-party administrators of employer health plans will face additional reporting on prescription drug coverage. This provision appears intended to identify more primary-payer situations under Medicare's secondary-payer rules.

The legislation also expands the annual reports to Congress that Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services must submit on Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act enforcement. These reports will have to include additional information on the results of all closed investigations into possible health plan violations of the parity rules for mental health and substance use disorder coverage.

Geoff Manville
by Geoff Manville

Partner, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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