Senate passes bill to ensure filling prescription for NARCAN doesn’t present barrier to life insurance
STATE HOUSE, Providence – The Rhode Island Senate yesterday passed legislation to remove a barrier to accessing lifesaving anti-overdose medication. The bill, 2019-S 0799 Sub A as amended
, is sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio. It addresses a situation experienced by some individuals who obtained naloxone in Rhode Island, then had trouble getting life insurance. Rhode Island has an “open prescription” for naloxone, meaning any person can obtain the medication at a pharmacy.
“We as a state should be encouraging anyone who may come in contact with overdose victims to have NARCAN accessible. That’s the reason we make it available to all,” said President Ruggerio. “Individuals who work in health care, public safety, and other fields may want to have NARCAN easily accessible in case there is a need for it, as might individuals who have a friend or family member struggling with an opioid addiction.”
NARCAN and EVZIO are brand names of naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
The legislation provides that, if an individual were denied life insurance on the sole basis that he or she had filled a prescription for naloxone, the insurer “shall reopen the application and underwriting process for consideration of coverage and the life insurance company shall be deemed to have provided coverage to the eligible person retroactive to the date of the initial application.”
President Ruggerio said, “Filling a prescription for naloxone does not automatically mean an individual is a greater risk to the insurer. No one should be denied life insurance for the sole reason that they carry medication that they could use to save another person’s life. This legislation removes a barrier to accessing this life saving medication.”
More than 200 Rhode Islanders have died due to accidental drug overdose in each of the last six years, and more than 300 have died each of the last three years, according to data published by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives.
For more information, contact:
Greg Pare, Press Secretary for the Senate
State House Room 314
Providence, RI 02903