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Thursday, February 2, 2023

MMA and Mississippi Economic Council Issue Joint Statement Against SB 2484

Mississippi businesses provide health insurance to employees through group or self-insured plans and rely on Pharmacy Benefit Specialists to manage their benefits and negotiate with the pharmaceutical manufacturers that set drug prices. The PBMs ensure employers get the most economical prescription drug prices for their employees. 

Why it matters

  • Drug costs are one of the most significant budgetary considerations that factor into employers' premiums. 
  • Drug prices can vary significantly among pharmacies, types of drugs, time of purchase, and volume. 
  • PBMs contract with pharmacies for a set price to provide efficiencies based on competitive market rates. 

The Impact of SB 2484

  • This legislation would incentivize pharmacies to not participate in these networks and undermine competitive rates if passed. 
  • It will lead to higher total drug costs. 
  • It means increased out-of-pocket costs for hard-working Mississippians. 

The primary driver of cost increases

  • It mandates an $11.29 dispensing fee on all prescriptions. 
  • Removes the ability of two private enterprises to negotiate prices.
  • Creates state-mandated prices, which eliminates free-market practices. 
  • Guarantees profits for one market segment, creating market inefficiencies, and does nothing to improve the healthcare system.

One of the most significant flaws of SB 2484 is it excludes the state health plan. Why is the state plan excluded if this legislation provides lower costs and increases efficiency? It's simple. This legislation increases costs. Without including the state health plan, legislators are asking businesses and working Mississippians to shoulder costs they aren't willing to put on their personal insurance plan.

MEC and MMA urge the legislature to keep our members’ employees in mind when considering SB 2484. Providing hard-working Mississippians with the best possible and most affordable healthcare coverage is vital. Passage of this bill could severely impede our ability to do that. We hope legislators will understand our concerns and vote against SB 2484.