Louisiana Department of Insurance issues new rules for insurers  

Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon yesterday issued an emergency rule that aims to streamline COVID-19 testing and prescription procedures for health insurance providers statewide. 

The rule places the full cost of COVID-19 solely on the insurance company rather than a typical co-pay system, allows patients to get early refills for some medications and expands mailing options for prescription drugs. The rule also prohibits step therapy, which refers to insurers requiring lower-cost drugs be used first before moving on to more expensive options. 

“This emergency rule, authorized by delegation of Governor Edwards’ emergency declaration, is a proactive effort by my staff to provide specific guidance to insurers as these conditions continue to impact the lives and health of citizens of our state,” Donelon says in a prepared statement. “This effort will ensure Louisiana policyholders will have seamless access to testing, pharmaceuticals and care throughout Louisiana.” The full text of the emergency rule can be found online.  

In response to the new rule, officials with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, the state’s largest insurer, say that it has already made several of the changes included in the new rule and has waived fees for telehealth doctor visits.