Early Prescription Refills Allowed in Florida Ahead of Hurricane Irma

As Hurricane Irma relentlessly approaches the Florida Keys and Miami before its march up the peninsula this weekend, we would like to remind all Florida residents that, under these emergency circumstances, all insurers are required to allow for early refills of prescription medications.

While you’re hunting for gasoline, water and other critical supplies, please don’t forget to pick up a supply of medicine to carry you through the storm “regardless of the date upon which the prescription had most recently been filled by a pharmacist.” The law requires insurers to cover at least a 30-day supply of medicine.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency this week, which triggered the early prescription refill provisions in the Florida statutes. The text of the memo to insurers reads as follows, courtesy of Orlando Weekly.

Please be safe!

Hurricane Irma – Early Prescription Refill Reminder Notice

DATE: September 5, 2017

TO: All Health Insurers, Managed Care Organizations and Other Health Entities

RE: Florida Law Reminder for Early Prescription Refills


This notice is a reminder that all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities must comply with the provisions of section 252.358, Florida Statutes, which allows for early prescription refills in the event that the Governor issues an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency or when a county Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated. This mandate remains in effect until the Governor’s Executive Order is rescinded or expires. See below for reference materials:

Florida Statute language:

Section 252.358 – Emergency-preparedness prescription medication refills.

All health insurers, managed care organizations, and other entities that are licensed by the Office of Insurance Regulation and provide prescription medication coverage as part of a policy or contract shall waive time restrictions on prescription medication refills, which include suspension of electronic “refill too soon” edits to pharmacies, to enable insureds or subscribers to refill prescriptions in advance, if there are authorized refills remaining, and shall authorize payment to pharmacies for at least a 30-day supply of any prescription medication, regardless of the date upon which the prescription had most recently been filled by a pharmacist, when the following conditions occur:

(1) The person seeking the prescription medication refill resides in a county that:

(a) Is under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service;

(b) Is declared to be under a state of emergency in an executive order issued by the Governor; or

(c) Has activated its emergency operations center and its emergency management plan.

(2) The prescription medication refill is requested within 30 days after the origination date of the conditions stated in this section or until such conditions are terminated by the issuing authority or no longer exist. The time period for the waiver of prescription medication refills may be extended in 15- or 30-day increments by emergency orders issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation. This section does not excuse or exempt an insured or subscriber from compliance with all other terms of the policy or contract providing prescription medication coverage. This section takes effect July 1, 2006.

The Governor has issued an emergency order for all counties and many counties have activated their EOC’s.

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