OKLAHOMA CITY – Time is running out for HB 2632, which would allow patients to use the pharmacy of their choice.
Governor Stitt vetoed a similar version of the bill in hopes that the legislature could compromise and find a middle ground.
HB2632 passed the House unanimously, but people on each side of the issue are still very split.
One major point of the bill is that patients would be allowed to use any willing provider.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma says that would cost people way too much money.
“We are searching for solutions to control health care costs,” Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma Director of Pharmacy Dr. Joni Post said. “This bill seems to say the management of PBMs and networks will drive lower costs, when in fact the opposite might be true.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield says employers would feel those negative effects first by being forced to change benefits to include more people in their network than they are willing to pay for.
“The smaller the insured group the more significant the impact can be because there`s not that base of people top spread the cost across,” Dr. Post told News 4.
Local pharmacies like Hospital Discount Pharmacy in Edmond disagree. They say it’s all about a patient’s right to choose.
“If they want to get served through the mail they should have that right. If they want to get stuff at our pharmacy they should have that right. If they want to use any other pharmacy they should have that right,” Hospital Discount Pharmacy Owner Lee Munoz said. “If everyone is signing the same contract with the same reimbursement, and that’s all transparent, and everyone knows all the details, I don’t see how you could argue that would cost more money.”
Munoz says she just wants to be on a level playing field, so she can continue serving her patients no matter who their insurance provider is.
“We aren`t even given access to a network. Blue Cross has been better about letting us sign a contract if we are willing to sign a contract,” Munoz said. “There are other PBMs where we don`t even get the chance to see the contract to say whether we want to be a part of that network.”
HB 2632 no longer applies to self-funded benefit plans which conflicts with federal law. That was a main reason Governor Stitt vetoed the Senate version of the bill the first time around.