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General Laws

Section 3B. A carrier that offers insureds a restricted pharmacy network shall, in soliciting, arranging, competitively bidding and contracting for such a network, comply with the following requirements for the purpose of promoting fair and competitive bidding:

(1) provide notice to eligible bidders of the carrier’s intent to solicit bids for participation in a restricted pharmacy network;

(2) inform eligible bidders of the date such bids will be solicited at least thirty days prior to such solicitation;

(3) provide eligible bidders with information on an identical, equal and uniform basis, including, but not limited to, bid procedure information, financial and utilization information needed to make an informed competitive bid, criteria to be used in awarding a restricted pharmacy network contract and proposed contractual requirements for the restricted pharmacy network;

(4) provide eligible bidders with at least thirty days to prepare and submit bids between the bid solicitation date and the bid submission deadline; and

(5) open all bids (a) at a previously specified time, which shall not be more than thirty days after the bid submission deadline, and (b) in a public manner, provided that certain information contained in said bids may be held as confidential from public review consistent with regulations promulgated by the commissioner regarding the disclosure of proprietary data or information submitted by any bidders.

A carrier shall neither exclude nor favor any individual pharmacy, or group or class of pharmacies, in the design of a competitive bid involving restricted or nonrestricted pharmacy networks in compliance with the requirements of this section. An entity that assists a carrier in the development or management of said design, network contracts, bid specifications or the bid process, or assists in the review or evaluation of said bids, shall be prohibited from bidding on such a contract.

A retail pharmacy registered pursuant to sections thirty-eight and thirty-nine of chapter one hundred twelve, or an association of such pharmacies whose purpose is to promote participation in restricted pharmacy networks, which are not offered or are not participating in a carrier’s restricted pharmacy network contract shall nevertheless have the right to provide drug benefits to the carrier’s insureds provided that such non-network pharmacies reach the following agreements with the carrier:

(1) to accept as the carrier’s payment in full the lowest price required of any pharmacy in the carrier’s restricted pharmacy network;

(2) to bill to the insured up to and not in excess of any copayment, coinsurance, deductible or other amount required of an insured by the carrier;

(3) to be reimbursed on the same methodological basis, including, but not limited to capitation or other risk-sharing methodology, as required of any pharmacy in the carrier’s restricted pharmacy network;

(4) to participate in the carrier’s utilization review and quality assurance programs, including utilization and drug management reports as required of any pharmacy in the carrier’s restricted pharmacy network;

(5) to provide computerized on-line eligibility determinations and claims submissions as required of any pharmacy in the carrier’s restricted pharmacy network;

(6) to participate in the carrier’s satisfaction surveys and complaint resolution programs for its insureds;

(7) to protect the carrier’s proprietary information and an insured’s confidentiality and privacy;

(8) to abide by the carrier’s performance standards with respect to waiting times, fill rates and inventory management, including formulary restrictions;

(9) to comply with the carrier’s claims audit provisions; and

(10) to certify, using audit results or accountant statements, the fiscal soundness of the non-network pharmacy.

A carrier may waive any of the aforementioned agreements in arranging for the provision of pharmaceutical drug benefits to insureds through a non-network pharmacy. A carrier may impose a cost-sharing charge for the use of a non-network pharmacy not to exceed five percent more than the charge for using any pharmacy in the carrier’s restricted pharmacy network. A carrier shall not impose any agreements, terms or conditions on any non-network pharmacy, or on any association of pharmacies, which are more restrictive than those required of any pharmacy in the carrier’s restricted pharmacy network. The failure of a non-network pharmacy to abide by the aforementioned agreements may, at the option of the carrier, serve as the basis for cancellation of the non-network pharmacy’s participation agreement.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to arrangements for the provision of pharmaceutical drug benefits to insureds between a carrier and a mail order pharmacy, a hospital-based pharmacy which is not a retail pharmacy, a pharmacy maintained by a physician group practice or clinic which is not a retail pharmacy or a pharmacy wholly-owned by a carrier.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to require or preclude the provision of pharmacy services to insureds through a restricted pharmacy network nor any other arrangement for the provision of prescription drug benefits.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to the establishment of any restricted pharmacy network in a geographical area, approved by the commissioner, which is served solely by a single provider of pharmaceutical services.

For purposes of this section, the term “carrier” shall mean an insurer operating pursuant to the provisions of chapter one hundred and seventy-five, a hospital service corporation operating pursuant to the provisions of chapter one hundred and seventy-six A, a medical service corporation operating pursuant to the provisions of chapter one hundred and seventy-six B, a health maintenance organization operating pursuant to the provisions of chapter one hundred and seventy-six G, and a preferred provider arrangement operating pursuant to the provisions of chapter one hundred and seventy-six I, or a wholly-owned subsidiary or affiliate under common ownership thereof. The term “insured” shall mean a person whose health care services and benefits are provided by, or indemnified by or otherwise covered by a carrier’s group or individual insurance policy, or certificate, agreement or contract and shall include subscribers, enrollees or members. The term “eligible bidder” shall mean a retail pharmacy, community pharmacy or pharmacy department registered pursuant to sections thirty-eight and thirty-nine of chapter one hundred and twelve, irrespective of corporate structure or number of locations at which it conducts business, located within the geographical service area of a carrier and willing to bid for participation in a restricted pharmacy network contract. The term “restricted pharmacy network” shall mean an arrangement for the provision of pharmaceutical drug benefits to insureds which under the terms of a carrier’s policy, certificate, contract or agreement of insurance or coverage requires an insured or creates a financial incentive for an insured to obtain prescription drug benefits from one or more participating pharmacies that have entered into, a specific contractual relationship with the carrier pursuant to a competitive bidding process.

The commissioner of the division of insurance shall have authority to enforce the provisions of this section.

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