OFFICE OF THE
[Insurance Commissioner Matter R 2019-11—Filed September 22, 2020, 2:07 p.m.]
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 19-18-089.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Prescription drug utilization management (ESHB 1879).
Hearing Location(s): On October 28, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. Zoom meeting: Detailed information for attending the Zoom meeting posted on the office of the insurance commissioner (OIC) website here https://www.insurance.wa.gov/prescription-drug-utilization-management-r-2019-11.
Date of Intended Adoption: November 1, 2020.
Submit Written Comments to: Mandy Weeks-Green, P.O. Box 40260, Olympia, WA 98504-0260, email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 360-586-3109, by October 28, 2020.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Melanie Watness, phone 360-725-7013, fax 360-586-2023, TTY 360-586-0241, email MelanieW@oic.wa.gov, by October 28, 2020.
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The commissioner will consider adopting rules regarding prescription drug utilization management to ensure implementation as provided for in ESHB 1879 (chapter 171, Laws of 2019), which has been codified in RCW 48.43.400
, and 48.43.073
. In addition to adding new sections, the commissioner is considering amending existing WAC, including WAC 284-43-0160, 284-43-2020, 284-43-5080, 284-43-5100, and 284-43-5170.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: The legislature passed ESHB 1879 during the 2019 session. The bill requires health carriers and prescription drug utilization management companies that restrict prescription drug coverage through use of utilization management to provide both the patient and the prescribing practitioner access to a clear, readily accessible, and timely exception process. The bill also requires utilization management protocols to be evidence-based and creates requirements and timelines for step therapy exception requests. The OIC needs to develop rules to amend existing WAC and add new sections to align with ESHB 1879 (chapter 171, Laws of 2019).
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Name of Proponent: Mike Kreidler, insurance commissioner, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Mandy Weeks-Green, P.O. Box 40260, Olympia, WA 98504-0260, 360-725-7041; Implementation: Molly Nollette, P.O. Box 40260, Olympia, WA 98504-0260, 360-725-7117; and Enforcement: Melanie Anderson, P.O. Box 40260, Olympia, WA 98504-0260, 360-725-7214.
A school district fiscal impact statement is not required under RCW 28A.305.135
A cost-benefit analysis is required under RCW 34.05.328
. A preliminary cost-benefit analysis may be obtained by contacting Tabba Alum, P.O. Box 40260, Olympia, WA 98504-0260, phone 360-725-7170, fax 360-586-3109.
The proposed rule does not impose more-than-minor costs on businesses. Following is a summary of the agency's analysis showing how costs were calculated. There are no costs associated with the proposed rule to small businesses. The OIC has applied a default cost of compliance ($100) when analyzing whether the rules would have a disproportionate impact on small businesses as defined in RCW 19.85.020
Below are calculations for minor cost thresholds across stakeholder[s] that classify as a small business based on the best analogous NAICS types. Although it is unlikely these rules would result in even the full default cost of compliance, the minor cost does not exceed any of the thresholds for any of the small business stakeholders.
Further, OIC has determined that implementation of the proposed rule will not result in any administrative, intrinsic or actual costs to pharmacies and small provider offices as they at present have preexisting process[es] to accommodate the time limits in the proposed legislation.
In contrast, OIC had determined on the basis of historical studies that the proposed rule will offer increased benefit to the small business stakeholders by streamlining the process of an enrollee's access to nonformulary or alternative medicines for conditions that are not responsive to treatment (Cox ER, Henderson R, Motheral BR. Health plan member experience with point-of-service prescription step therapy. J Manag Care Pharm. 2004;10(4):291-298. Hsu J, Price M, Huang J, et al. Unintended consequences of caps on Medicare drug benefits. N Engl J Med. 2006;354(22):2349-2359).
For these reasons, the proposed rules do not impose more than minor costs on businesses as defined by RCW 19.85.020
2019 Industry NAICS Code
Estimated Cost of Compliance
NAICS Code Title
Average number of employees/business
Cost Estimate - 1% of
Avg Annual Payroll (0.01*AvgPay)
Pharmacies and drug stores
Health and personal care stores
Offices of physicians, except mental health
Healthcare and social assistance
Offices of mental health physicians
Healthcare and social assistance
Offices of dentists
Healthcare and social assistance
Offices of optometrists
Healthcare and social assistance
Offices of mental health practitioners
Healthcare and social assistance
Offices of specialty therapists
Healthcare and social assistance
Offices of miscellaneous health practitioners
Healthcare and social assistance
Family planning centers
Healthcare and social assistance
Outpatient mental health centers
Healthcare and social assistance
Washington State Auditor Minor Cost Threshold Calculator July 2019.xlsx
A copy of the detailed cost calculations may be obtained by contacting Tabba Alam, P.O. Box 40260, Olympia, WA 98504-0260, phone 360-725-7170, fax 360-586-3109.
September 22, 2020
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 16-01-081, filed 12/14/15, effective 12/14/15)
WAC 284-43-2020Drug utilization review—Generally.
(1) These definitions apply to this section only:
(a) "Nonurgent review request" means any request for approval of care or treatment where the request is made in advance of the patient obtaining medical care or services, or a renewal of a previously approved request, and is not an urgent care request.
(b) "Urgent care review request" means any request for approval of care or treatment where the passage of time could seriously jeopardize the life or health of the patient, seriously jeopardize the patient's ability to regain maximum function or, in the opinion of a provider with knowledge of the patient's medical condition, would subject the patient to severe pain that cannot be adequately managed without the care or treatment that is the subject of the request.
(2) Each issuer must maintain a documented drug utilization review program. The program must include a method for reviewing and updating criteria. Issuers must make drug review criteria available upon request to a participating provider. Beginning January 1, 2021, an issuer must post its clinical review criteria for prescription drugs and the drug utilization management exception process on its website. An issuer must also require any entity performing prescription drug benefit administration on the issuer's behalf to post the drug utilization management exception process and clinical review criteria used for the issuer's enrollees on the entity's website. The review criteria must be accessible to both providers and enrollees and presented in plain language that is understandable to both providers and enrollees. The clinical review criteria must include all rules and criteria related to the prescription drug utilization management exception process including the specific information and documentation that must be submitted by a health care provider or enrollee to be considered a complete exception request.
(3) The drug utilization review program must meet accepted national certification standards such as those used by the National Committee for Quality Assurance except as otherwise required by this chapter.
(4) The drug utilization review program must have staff who are properly qualified, trained, supervised, and supported by explicit written clinical review criteria and review procedures.
(5) Each issuer must have written procedures to assure that reviews are conducted in a timely manner.
(a) If the review request from a provider or enrollee is not accompanied by all necessary information, the issuer must tell the provider or enrollee what additional information is needed and the deadline for its submission. Upon the sooner of the receipt of all necessary information or the expiration of the deadline for providing information, the time frames for issuer determination and notification must be no less favorable than United States Department of Labor standards, and are as follows:
(i) For urgent care review requests:
(A) Must approve the request within forty-eight hours if the information provided is sufficient to approve the claim and include the authorization number, if a prior authorization number is required, in its approval;
(B) Must deny the request within forty-eight hours if the requested service is not medically necessary and the information provided is sufficient to deny the claim; or
(C) Within twenty-four hours, if the information provided is not sufficient to approve or deny the claim, the issuer must request that the provider submits additional information to make the prior authorization determination:
(I) The issuer must give the provider forty-eight hours to submit the requested information;
(II) The issuer must then approve or deny the request within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the requested additional information and include the authorization number in its approval;
(ii) For nonurgent care review requests:
(A) Must approve the request within five calendar days if the information is sufficient to approve the claim and include the authorization number in its approval;
(B) Must deny the request within five calendar days if the requested service is not medically necessary and the information provided is sufficient to deny the claim; or
(C) Within five calendar days, if the information provided is not sufficient to approve or deny the claim, the issuer must request that the provider submits additional information to make the prior authorization determination:
(I) The issuer must give the provider five calendar days to submit the requested additional information;
(II) The issuer must then approve or deny the request within four calendar days of the receipt of the additional information and include the authorization number in its approval.
(b) Notification of the prior authorization determination must be provided as follows:
(i) Information about whether a request was approved must be made available to the provider;
(ii) Whenever there is an adverse determination resulting in a denial the issuer must notify the requesting provider by one or more of the following methods; phone, fax and/or secure electronic notification, and the covered person in writing or via secure electronic notification. Status information will be communicated to the billing pharmacy, via electronic transaction, upon the issuer's receipt of a claim after the request has been denied. The issuer must transmit these notifications within the time frames specified in (a)(i) and (ii) of this subsection in compliance with United States Department of Labor standards.
(6) When a provider or enrollee requests an exception to an issuer's drug utilization program, the urgent and nonurgent time frames established in RCW 48.43.420, WAC 284-43-2021 and 284-43-2022 shall apply.
(7) No issuer may penalize or threaten a pharmacist or pharmacy with a reduction in future payment or termination of participating provider or participating facility status because the pharmacist or pharmacy disputes the issuer's determination with respect to coverage or payment for pharmacy service.
WAC 284-43-2021Prescription drug utilization management exception and substitution process.
(1) For purposes of this section and WAC 284-43-2022:
(a) "Emergency fill" means a limited dispensed amount of medication that allows time for the processing of prescription drug utilization management.
(b) "Medically appropriate" means prescription drugs that under the applicable standard of care are appropriate:
(i) To improve or preserve an enrollee's health, life, or function;
(ii) To slow the deterioration of an enrollee's health, life, or function; or
(iii) For the early screening, prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease, condition, illness, or injury.
(2) Beginning January 1, 2021, a carrier must establish an exception request program so that enrollees and providers may request substitution of a preferred drug, therapy or medication, and exceptions to prescription drug benefit limitations and procedures under a carrier's drug utilization management program. The process must include both nonurgent and urgent exception request procedures.
(3) A carrier must treat an exception request as urgent when an enrollee is experiencing a health condition that may seriously jeopardize the enrollee's life, health or ability to regain maximum function, or when the enrollee is undergoing a current course of treatment using a nonformulary drug.
(4) A carrier's exception request standards, procedures and the process description must be available to the commissioner for review upon request. A carrier must require any entity the carrier uses to administer its prescription drug benefit or to make coverage decisions for prescription drug, therapy, or medication coverage, to comply with the carrier's exception process requirements. Neither the exception request process criteria nor the type or volume of documentation required to support an exception request may be unreasonably burdensome to the enrollee or their provider.
(5) The exception request procedures must:
(a) Clearly explain the process a provider and enrollee may use to request approval from the carrier, or any entity providing benefit administration, to substitute one drug, therapy or medication for another drug, therapy or medication on both an urgent and nonurgent basis.
(b) Explain how the exception process provides an enrollee with access to drugs, therapies, or medication that are both on and off the carrier's formulary.
(c) Permit an enrollee and their provider to use the exception request process when a formulary's tiering structure changes during the year and an enrollee is using a drug affected by the change.
(d) Permit a request for an exception to utilization management restrictions applied by the carrier or any entity providing benefit administration, such as a requirement for step therapy, dosage limitations, or therapeutic substitution.
(e) Permit substitution coverage for nonspecialty and specialty drugs, biologics, self-administered medication, and off-label prescriptions of medications, which means a prescription of a medication, drug, or therapy for an indication that deviates significantly from the approved U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeling. An indication is defined as a diagnosis, illness, injury, syndrome, condition or other clinical parameter for which a drug may be given. A carrier is not required to permit substitution coverage for vaccines.
(6) A carrier must not establish a special formulary tier or copayment or other cost-sharing requirement that is only applicable to prescription drugs approved for coverage under an exception request. When an enrollee or their provider requests a formulary or tiering exception to obtain a nonpreferred drug that is in a higher cost-sharing tier, a carrier may apply the cost-share for the substituted drug based on the substituted drug's placement on the formulary. For a drug that is not on the formulary, the carrier must apply the enrollee's share of cost to their out-of-pocket maximum calculations. A carrier's prescription drug benefit must include a description of the enrollee's cost-share obligation for off-formulary coverage of substituted drugs, therapies, or medications accessed through the exception process.
(7) A carrier must not require the enrollee to submit a new exception request for a refill if the enrollee's prescribing physician or other prescriber continues to prescribe the drug and the drug continues to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating the enrollee's disease or medical condition, or if the drug was prescribed as part of the enrollee's participation in a clinical trial.
(a) If the substituted drug is for an off-label drug use, a carrier may require the enrollee to submit a new exception request when a prescription fill and renewal cycle ends.
(b) A carrier may require an enrollee to try an AB-rated generic equivalent or a biological product that is an interchangeable biological product prior to providing coverage for the equivalent branded prescription drug.
(c) A carrier must consider exception requests for a U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved drug used for purposes other than what is indicated on the official label if the use is medically acceptable. A carrier must take into consideration major drug compendia, authoritative medical literature, and accepted standards of practice when making its decision.
(8) Subject to the terms and conditions of the policy that otherwise limit or exclude coverage, the carrier must grant the exception request if it can determine at least one of the following from the information submitted by a provider or enrollee in support of the exception request:
(a) The enrollee does not tolerate the covered generic or formulary drug;
(b) The enrollee's provider has determined that the covered generic or formulary drug is not therapeutically efficacious for an enrollee. A carrier may require the provider to submit specific clinical documentation as part of the exception request;
(c) The enrollee's provider has determined clinically efficacious treatment requires a dosage that differs from a carrier's formulary dosage limitation for the covered drug. A carrier may require the provider to submit specific clinical documentation as part of the exception request and must review that documentation prior to making a decision;
(d) The enrollee has tried the required prescription drug or another prescription drug in the same pharmacologic class or a drug with the same mechanism of action and, based on the enrollee's documented history, establishes to their provider's satisfaction that they discontinued use of that drug because it was not therapeutically efficacious, effective, had a diminished effect or caused the enrollee an adverse event. A carrier may not deny an exception request solely on the basis that the enrollee's prior use of the required or preferred drug was not within a specific time frame;
(e) The provider has determined that changing from a currently prescribed drug to a drug required by the carrier's formulary management protocols may cause clinically predictable adverse reactions, or physical or mental harm to the enrollee. A carrier's exception program must include uniform standards for the type of clinical documentation required to establish that an adverse reaction, or physical or mental harm is clinically predictable; or
(f) The drug required by the carrier's formulary management protocols is not in the best interest of the enrollee. To grant an exception request under this standard, a carrier must require submission of documentation of medical appropriateness, including an explanation of why the provider expects the enrollee's use of the required drug to either create a barrier to the enrollee's adherence to or compliance with their plan of care, to negatively impact a comorbid condition of the enrollee, to cause a clinically predictable negative drug interaction or to decrease the enrollee's ability to achieve or maintain reasonable functional ability in performing daily activities.
(9) A carrier must include specific direction in its process explaining how an enrollee may request coverage for an emergency fill of a substitute drug, therapy or medication. A carrier must cover an emergency fill if the treating health care provider determines that the emergency fill is necessary to keep the enrollee stable while the exception request is being processed.
(a) A carrier is not required to grant an exception request for a substitute drug on the basis that an emergency fill was requested.
(b) The emergency fill exception request process in subchapter D of this chapter provides an exception to the carrier's emergency fill policy as required by WAC 284-170-470(8).
WAC 284-43-2022Time frame for exception and substitution request determinations.
(1) A carrier must make an exception request determination in a timely manner as defined in this section. A carrier may not deny the exception request if the enrollee or provider does not receive a response to an exception request within the time frames in this section.
(2) A carrier must maintain a sufficient record of each exception request to establish its compliance with the required exception process and time frames under chapter 284-43 WAC and RCW 48.43.420
. Upon the commissioner's request, a carrier must make all records and documentation available and produce all requested documentation from any entity providing benefit administration or exception request decisions on its behalf within the time frame set by the commissioner.
(3) If a provider fails to submit sufficient information for the carrier to approve or deny an exception request, a carrier must notify the provider of the specific information needed within three business days of receiving a nonurgent exception request and one business day of receiving an urgent exception request. A carrier must notify the provider that the documentation is insufficient and must explain what information is missing. A carrier may establish a specific reasonable time frame for submission of the additional information. This time frame must be communicated to the provider or enrollee with a carrier's request for additional information. If the additional information is not received within that time frame, a carrier may deny the request.
(4) When a carrier receives sufficient information to make a decision regarding a nonurgent exception request, a carrier must make its determination and notify the enrollee or the enrollee's designee and the prescribing provider (or other prescriber, as appropriate) no later than three business days following receipt of the request.
(5) When a carrier receives sufficient information to make a decision regarding an urgent exception request, a carrier must make its determination and notify the enrollee or the enrollee's designee and the prescribing provider (or other prescriber, as appropriate) no later than one business day following receipt of the request.
(6) Use of a carrier's exception process is not a grievance or appeal pursuant to RCW 48.43.530
. Denial of an exception request is an adverse benefit determination, and an enrollee, their representative provider or facility, or representative may request review of that decision using a carrier's appeal or adverse benefit determination review process.
(7) A carrier's denial of an exception request is subject to the requirements of RCW 48.43.535
and chapter 284-43A WAC, which grants enrollees access to independent external review of carrier decisions to deny, modify, reduce or terminate coverage of or payment for a health care service or if the carrier exceeds the timelines for making an exception request decision and denies coverage. While the external review is conducted, the carrier must cover the drug if the exception request was urgent or was for an emergency fill. If such an exigency ceases, any drug previously covered under such exigency may only be reauthorized through the standard exception request process. If the independent external review reverses the carrier's denial of either an urgent or nonurgent exception request, the carrier must retrospectively cover the nonformulary drug and continue coverage for the duration of the prescription.
(8) A carrier may not penalize or threaten a provider with a reduction in future payment or termination of a participating provider agreement because the provider disputes a carrier's determination with respect to coverage or payment for a substitute drug.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 17-03-087, filed 1/12/17, effective 2/12/17)
WAC 284-43-5080Prescription drug benefit design.
(1) A carrier may design its prescription drug benefit to include cost control measures, including requiring preferred drug substitution in a given therapeutic class, if the restriction is for a less expensive, equally therapeutic alternative product available to treat the condition.
(2) A carrier may include elements in its prescription drug benefit design that, where clinically feasible, create incentives for the use of generic drugs. Examples of permitted incentives include, but are not limited to, refusal to pay for higher cost drugs until it can be shown that a lower cost drug or medication is not effective (also known as step therapy protocols or fail-first policies), establishing a preferred brand and nonpreferred brand formulary, or otherwise limiting the benefit to the use of a generic drug in lieu of brand name drugs, subject to a substitution process as set forth in subsection (3) of this section.
(3) A carrier ((must establish a process that a provider and enrollee (or their designee) may use to request a substitution for a prescribed therapy, drug or medication that is not on the formulary.
(a) The process must not unreasonably restrict an enrollee's access to nonformulary or alternate medications for refractory conditions. Used in this context, "refractory" means "not responsive to treatment."
(b) For an individual or small group plan, a carrier must make its determination on a standard exception and notify the enrollee or the enrollee's designee and the prescribing provider (or other prescriber, as appropriate) of its coverage determination no later than seventy-two hours following receipt of the request. A carrier that grants a standard exception request must provide coverage of the nonformulary drug for the duration of the prescription, including refills.
(c) For an individual or small group plan, a carrier must have a process for an enrollee, the enrollee's designee, or the enrollee's prescribing provider (or other prescriber) to request an expedited review based on exigent circumstances. For purposes of this section, "exigent circumstances" exist when an enrollee is experiencing a health condition that may seriously jeopardize the enrollee's life, health, or ability to regain maximum function or when an enrollee is undergoing a current course of treatment using a nonformulary drug.
(i) A carrier must make its coverage determination on an expedited review request based on exigent circumstances and notify the enrollee or the enrollee's designees and the prescribing provider (or other prescriber) of its coverage determination no later than twenty-four hours following receipt of the request.
(ii) A carrier that grants an exception based on exigent circumstances must provide coverage of the nonformulary drug for the duration of the exigency.
(d) Subject to the terms and conditions of the policy that otherwise limit or exclude coverage, the carrier must permit substitution of a covered generic drug or formulary drug if:
(i) An enrollee does not tolerate the covered generic or formulary drug; or
(ii) An enrollee's provider determines that the covered generic or formulary drug is not therapeutically efficacious for an enrollee. A carrier may require the provider to submit specific clinical documentation as part of the substitution request; or
(iii) The provider determines that a dosage is required for clinically efficacious treatment that differs from a carrier's formulary dosage limitation for the covered drug. A carrier may require the provider to submit specific clinical documentation as part of the substitution request and must review that documentation prior to making a decision.
(4) A carrier may include a preauthorization requirement for its prescription drug benefit and its substitution process, based on accepted peer reviewed clinical studies, Federal Drug Administration black box warnings, the fact that the drug is available over-the-counter, objective and relevant clinical information about the enrollee's condition, specific medical necessity criteria, patient safety, or other criteria that meet an accepted, medically applicable standard of care.
(a) Neither the substitution process criteria nor the type or volume of documentation required to support a substitution request may be unreasonably burdensome to the enrollee or their provider.
(b) The substitution process must be administered consistently, and include a documented consultation with the prescribing provider prior to denial of a substitution request.
(5) Use of a carrier's substitution process is not a grievance or appeal pursuant to RCW 48.43.530 and 48.43.535. Denial of a substitution request is an adverse benefit determination, and an enrollee, their representative provider or facility, or representative may request review of that decision using the carrier's appeal or adverse benefit determination review process.
(6) In an individual or small group plan, if the carrier denies a request for a standard exception or for an expedited exception, the carrier must have a process for the enrollee, the enrollee's designee, or the enrollee's prescribing provider (or other prescriber) to request that the original exception request and subsequent denial of such request be reviewed by an independent review organization.
(a) A carrier must determine whether or not to grant an external exception request review and notify the enrollee or the enrollee's designee and the prescribing provider (or other prescriber, as appropriate) of its decision no later than seventy-two hours following its receipt of the request, if the original request was a standard exception request, and no later than twenty-four hours following its receipt of the request, if the original request was an expedited exception request.
(b) If a standard exception request is granted after an external review, the health plan must provide coverage of the nonformulary drug for the duration of the prescription. If an expedited exception request is granted after an external review, the health plan must provide coverage of the nonformulary drug for the duration of the exigency. If such an exigency ceases, any drug previously covered under such exigency may only be reauthorized through the standard exception request process))may include a preauthorization requirement for its prescription drug benefit and its substitution process, based on accepted peer reviewed clinical studies, Federal Drug Administration black box warnings, the fact that the drug is available over-the-counter, objective and relevant clinical information about the enrollee's condition, specific medical necessity criteria, patient safety, or other criteria that meet an accepted, medically applicable standard of care.
(4) A carrier may require an enrollee to try an AB-rated generic equivalent or a biological product that is an interchangeable biological product prior to providing coverage for the equivalent branded prescription drug.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 16-01-081, filed 12/14/15, effective 12/14/15)
WAC 284-43-5100Formulary changes.
An issuer is not required to use a formulary as part of its prescription drug benefit design. If a formulary is used, an issuer must, at a minimum, comply with these requirements when a formulary change occurs.
(1) In addition to the requirements set forth in WAC 284-30-450, an issuer must not exclude or remove a medication from its formulary if the medication is the sole prescription medication option available to treat a disease or condition for which the health benefit plan, policy or agreement otherwise provides coverage, unless the medication or drug is removed because the drug or medication becomes available over-the-counter, is proven to be medically inefficacious, or for documented medical risk to patient health.
(2) If a drug is removed from an issuer's formulary for a reason other than withdrawal of the drug from the market, availability of the drug over-the-counter, or the issue of black box warnings by the Federal Drug Administration, an issuer must continue to cover a drug that is removed from the issuer's formulary for the time period required for an enrollee who is taking the medication at the time of the formulary change to use an issuer's ((substitution))exception request process to request continuation of coverage for the removed medication, and receive a decision through that process, unless patient safety requires swifter replacement.
(3) Formularies and related preauthorization information must be posted on an issuer or issuer's contracted pharmacy benefit manager website and must be current. Unless the removal is done on an immediate or emergency basis or because a generic equivalent becomes available without prior notice, formulary changes must be posted ((thirty))sixty days before the effective date of the change. In the case of an emergency removal, the change must be posted as soon as practicable, without unreasonable delay.
(4) An issuer must make current formulary information electronically available for loading into e-prescribing applications/electronic health records utilizing the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) formulary and benefit standard transaction. Issuers must include all required data elements as well as the following information, to the extent supported by the transaction:
(a) Tier level;
(b) Contract exclusions;
(c) Quantity limits;
(d) Preauthorization required;
(e) Preferred/step therapy.
(5) The issuer's exception request process for any aspect of its prescription drug utilization management program must permit requests for off-formulary substitutions, as well as substitution of one drug on the formulary for another.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 17-01-166, filed 12/21/16, effective 1/21/17)
WAC 284-43-5170Prescription drug benefit disclosures.
(1) A carrier must include the following information in the certificate of coverage issued for a health benefit plan, policy or agreement that includes a prescription drug benefit in addition to those required elsewhere in Titles 48
RCW and 284 WAC. The commissioner may disapprove any contract issued on or after January 1, 2018, if the requirements of this subsection are not met.
(a) A clear statement explaining that the health benefit plan uses the following in its coverage of drugs (as applicable):
(i) Exclusion of certain brand name or other medications from its formulary;
(ii) Therapeutic drug substitution;
(iii) Incentives for use of generic drugs (such as step-therapy protocols);
(iv) Prior authorization requirements;
(v) Mid-plan year formulary changes; or
(vi) Other limits of its prescription drug benefit.
(b) For health plans delivered, issued, or renewed on or before January 1, 2021, a clear explanation of the substitution process required under WAC 284-43-5080 that the enrollee or their provider must use to seek coverage of a prescription drug or medication that is not in the formulary or is not the carrier's preferred drug or medication for the covered medical condition.
(c) For health plans delivered, issued, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, a clear explanation of the exception and substitution processes required under WAC 284-43-2021, 284-43-2022, and 284-43-5080.
(d) A clear statement explaining that consumers may be eligible to receive an emergency fill for prescription drugs under the circumstances described in WAC 284-170-470. The disclosure must include the process for consumers to obtain an emergency fill, and cost-sharing requirements, if any, for an emergency fill.
(((d)))(e) The process for developing coverage standards and formularies, including the principal criteria by which drugs are selected for inclusion, exclusion, restriction or limitation.
(((e)))(f) The process of changing formularies and coverage standards, including changes in the use of substitute drugs. If the plan has provisions for "grandfathering" certain ongoing prescriptions or other coverage exceptions, these practices must be disclosed.
(((f)))(g) The disclosure must state whether drugs may move between tiers during a plan year and whether this may affect cost-sharing.
(((g)))(h) Any medication management, disease management, or other pharmacy-related services reimbursed by the plan in addition to those required under state and federal law in connection with dispensing drugs, such as disease management services for migraine, diabetes, smoking cessation, asthma, or lipid management.
(((h)))(i) The general categories of drugs excluded from coverage must be disclosed. Such categories may include items such as appetite suppressants, dental prescriptions, cosmetic agents or most over-the-counter medications. This subsection does not require that any particular category of coverage for drugs or pharmacy services should be excluded, reduced, or limited by a health plan.
(2) When a carrier eliminates a previously covered drug from its formulary, or establishes new limitations on coverage of the drug or medication, at a minimum a carrier must ensure that prior notice of the change will be provided as soon as is practicable, to enrollees who filled a prescription for the drug within the prior three months.
(a) Provided the enrollee agrees to receive electronic notice and such agreement has not been withdrawn, either electronic mail notice, or written notice by first class mail at the last known address of the enrollee, are acceptable methods of notice.
(b) If neither of these notice methods is available because the carrier lacks contact information for enrollees, a carrier may post notice on its website or at another location that may be appropriate, so long as the posting is done in a manner that is reasonably calculated to reach and be noticed by affected enrollees.
(3) A carrier and health plan may use provider and enrollee education to promote the use of therapeutically equivalent generic drugs. The materials must not mislead an enrollee about the difference between biosimilar or bioequivalent, and therapeutically equivalent, generic medications.
(4) A carrier must include the following statement in the certificate of coverage issued for a health benefit plan, policy, or agreement that includes a prescription drug benefit, and provide current contact information as prompted below:
YOUR PRESCRIPTION DRUG RIGHTS
You have the right to safe and effective pharmacy services. You also have the right to know what drugs are covered by your plan and the limits that apply. If you have a question or concern about your prescription drug benefits, please contact us (the health carrier) at (health carrier's contact phone number) or visit (health carrier's website). If you would like to know more about your rights, or if you have concerns about your plan, you may contact the Washington state office of insurance commissioner at 1-800-562-6900 or www.insurance.wa.gov. If you have a concern about the pharmacists or pharmacies serving you, please contact the Washington state department of health at 360-236-4700, www.doh.wa.gov, or HSQACSC@doh.wa.gov.