An NJEA-supported bill to help control prescription costs without reducing health benefits, A-4328, passed the Assembly today by a vote of 71-1 and is headed to Gov. Christie for his signature. Its companion bill, S-2749, previously passed the Senate 34-0.
“NJEA has long advocated for measures that save money without reducing benefits or increasing costs for members,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer. “We are pleased that legislators finally heard our suggestions and passed the common-sense reform.”
The bill would change the way the state accepts bids for its pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) by allowing the state to hire a technological services contractor to provide services for the bidding of the contract and to audit/monitor the PBM. The bidding process would give the state a true comparison of the costs of each PBM who submits a bid for the contract and would allow the state to electronically monitor and audit invoices and other services provided by the PBM for state health plans, avoiding errors and overcharges.
“With prescription costs rising rapidly, we needed to find a way to control those costs without putting a greater burden on public employees,” declared Steinhauer. “If Gov. Christie signs this bill, it could save the state over $200 million. That’s a win-win for both public employees and the state.”
Earlier today, the Senate and Assembly passed identical bills that would require the state to make its required pension contributions each fiscal year on a quarterly basis, with payments on Sept. 30, Dec. 31, March 31, and June 30. The Senate passed S-2810 by a vote of 35-0 while the Assembly passed its companion bill, A-4, by a vote of 72-0. The bill now moves to the governor’s desk. If passed and signed by the governor, the law would take effect on July 1, 2017.