Governor Signs Formulary, Late-Payment Bills

Gov. Eric Holcomb this week signed two bills into law: one that creates a workers' compensation drug formulary aimed at curtailing the opioid crisis, and another that penalizes employers for late payments of benefits.

SB 290, which passed the Indiana General Assembly March 7, requires employers to pay benefits within 30 days of being awarded and imposes fines when benefits are not paid on time.

The law, which takes effect July 1, also doubles the penalty, to $100, for employers who fail to provide notice of workers' compensation coverage to employees and requires reporting of workplace injuries that need medical attention beyond basic first aid, instead of the previous threshold of injuries causing absence from work.

SB 369, passed in February, makes Indiana the 15th state to adopt a drug formulary that restricts opioid prescribing. The state is adopting MCG Health's Official Disability Guidelines as the formulary, under which doctors cannot prescribe "not recommended" medications unless the insurance company approves, a process called preauthorization.

The ban on reimbursement for the prohibited drugs takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, but injured workers who began taking the medications before July of this year may continue until January 2020, the law says.

This article was first published by Work Comp Central.

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