Aug 14, 2012
SENATOR ROBERT DEUELL RECEIVES 2011 LEGISLATIVE CHAMPION AWARD
National Multiple Sclerosis Society Honors His Efforts on Behalf of Texans Living With Chronic Illnesses
AUSTIN – Today, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society announced that Senator Robert Deuell, (R – Greenville) has been honored with the 2011 Texas Legislative Champion Award for his leadership on behalf of Texans living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other chronic illnesses. The award was presented by Texans living with MS in the Senator’s district and hometown of Greenville, TX.
“Sen. Deuell has been a compassionate and dedicated advocate for those of us living with MS. I am honored to help recognize him for his great work, and I am grateful to have him as my champion in the Legislature,” said Donna Gosbee, a resident of Klondike, Texas and a member of the National MS Society’s Texas Government Relations Committee.
"I'm honored to receive this award from such a fine organization,” Sen. Deuell said. "I'm confident the legislation we passed will be of great benefit to those suffering from this often-debilitating illness."
During the 2011 session of the Texas Legislature, Sen. Deuelll sponsored House Bill 1405, also known as the Continuity of Prescription Drug Act. The bill was authored in the House by State Representative John Smithee (R-Amarillo), Chairman of the Insurance Committee. The legislation prohibits mid-year changes to prescription drug coverage and requires that insurance companies provide, in writing, advance notice of changes prior to reenrollment. For Texans living with a chronic illness whose monthly co-pays for life-saving prescription drugs can often total hundreds if not thousands of dollars, this legislation will allow them to plan for their annual health insurance costs and guarantee coverage for the entirety of an insurance contract.
MS is a life-long, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Although there is still no cure for MS, there are eight prescription drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) to treat the disease. The annual cost for a regimen of one of the eight MS drugs can range from $24,000 to $48,000 per year. These medications slow down progression of the disease and allow many Texans living with MS to stay in the job market and to care for themselves and their families.
Prior to the bill’s passage, it was common for Texans living with MS to learn of critical changes to prescription drug coverage at the counter of their local pharmacy. Texans reported substantial, unexpected changes in co-payments for their MS prescription drug—increases in the hundreds of dollars over the previous month. In the worst cases, many Texans were learning at the point-of-sale that their prescription would no longer be covered by their insurance company. Thanks to Sen. Deuell’s leadership, people living with MS and other chronic illnesses can now count on their prescription drug coverage and will have the information they need to budget for future health care expenses.
HB 1405 was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry in June 2011 and extends to small businesses and the individual market protections already in law in large employer plans that require health plans to maintain prescription drug coverage for the life of the annual health insurance contract.