Early prescription refills permitted under State of Emergency

Press release from Florida Department of Health

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 23-171, declaring a state of emergency in Alachua, Bay, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla counties in preparation for Tropical Depression 10’s projected landfall.

The Florida Department of Health is working with emergency managers statewide to prepare for any impacts to communities and reminds Floridians to have enough of their prescriptions on hand in the event pharmacies are temporarily unavailable. Under a state of emergency, Floridians are permitted to receive early prescription refills regardless of typical limits. 

Furthermore, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has issued the following reminder to all health insurers, managed care organizations, and health entities:

Florida Law Reminder for Early Prescription Refills

This notice is a reminder that all health insurers, managed care organizations, and other health entities must comply with provisions of section 252.358, Florida Statutes, which allows for early prescription refills in the event the Governor issues an executive order declaring a state of emergency. This mandate remains in effect until the Governor’s executive order is rescinded or expires. 

Executive Order 23-171

In accordance with section 252.358, Florida Statutes, emergency-preparedness prescription medication refills:

  • All health insurers, managed care organizations, and other entities that are licensed by the Office of Insurance Regulation and provide prescription medication coverage as part of a policy or contract shall waive time restrictions on prescription medication refills, which include suspension of electronic “refill too soon” edits to pharmacies, to enable insureds or subscribers to refill prescriptions in advance, if there are authorized refills remaining, and shall authorize payment to pharmacies for at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medication, regardless of the date upon which the prescription had most recently been filled by a pharmacist, when the following conditions occur:
  • (1) The person seeking the prescription medication refill resides in a county that:
    • (a) Is under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service;
    • (b) Is declared to be under a state of emergency in an executive order issued by the Governor; or
    • (c) Has activated its emergency operations center and its emergency management plan.
  • (2) The prescription medication refill is requested within 30 days after the origination date of the conditions stated in this section or until such conditions are terminated by the issuing authority or no longer exist. The time period for the waiver of prescription medication refills may be extended in 15- or 30-day increments by emergency orders issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

This section does not excuse or exempt an insured or subscriber from compliance with all other terms of the policy or contract providing prescription medication coverage.

  • Every patient should have at least a 30-day supply of meds available at home at all times. Suppliers in India and China are not inventoried to meet emergency demands. Neither are local pharmacies.

    Guard your health fiercely; if you lose it, you have lost everything.

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