16 May 2011

April 2011 - President's Message

This week I had the honor of participating in an MOA springtime tradition: The MOA Annual Legislative Wrap-up Meeting. Every year, members of the MOA executive board meet with our legislative committee and lobbyists to review legislation from the past session and look ahead to next year's agenda.

This year, we reviewed several pieces of legislation that will affect our practices and our patients on a daily basis. First, the MOA helped to secure the success of HB888/SB701 during the 2011 legislative session in Annapolis. This legislation requires that insurers that provide coverage for prescription eye drops do so for a refill of prescription eye drops "in accordance with guidance for early refills of topical ophthalmic products provided to Medicare Part D...."

This is great news for our patients who take chronic eye medications and have previously had difficulty refilling their prescriptions in a timely fashion, for example, if they “ran out of meds early” according to their insurers’ guidelines. Now, patients should never have to be without their medications if they have authorized refills.

Second, the Maryland General Assembly is moving ahead in accordance with President Obama's Health Care Reform and has passed the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2011 (HB166/SB182). This legislation will establish the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which will facilitate the individual purchase of Qualified Health Plans. By January 1, 2014, exchanges must become operational and offer consumers a choice of health plan options to choose from. The legislation that was signed by Governor O'Malley on April 12 also specifies that the exchange must study and report on the functioning of the exchange and report back to the Governor and General Assembly for implementation.

This is very important legislation that will affect all optometrists and our patients. It is imperative that we are at the table during this pivotal time so that we can ensure that all Marylanders will have access to comprehensive eye health and vision benefits under the new Health Exchange.

I am urging all MOA members to help us with this task. We will need MOA members who are willing to attend meetings during the summer and fall that will be instrumental in establishing our role in the new health care delivery system. Please email me at moa@assnhqtrs.com for more information and ask to be included in these important meetings.


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