Commissioner on PBMs and Soaring Home Replacement Costs

Montana State Auditor and Commissioner of Insurance Troy Downing spoke to KGVO News on Tuesday to discuss a bill about to be signed by Governor Gianforte that will make his office better manage prescription drug costs through drug benefit managers.

“This is one of the most important areas of growth in patient care,” said Downing. “I told the folks at Blue Cross Blue Shield a while back and they said almost a third of the money they spend on patient care is for prescription drugs, and if you Think about it, with all the money they spend on surgeries, hospitalizations, treatments, whatever they do, a third of which goes to prescriptions, and that’s a growing part of the cost of patient care.

Downing said Senate Bill 395 gives more state control and accountability to drug benefit managers, who are intermediaries between drug companies and drug companies.

“What this bill does, first of all, is a licensing bill,” he said. “So PBMs doing business in Montana have to get licensed with that office. Problem is, we have no idea how many PBMs are operating in Montana, so the first thing to figure out is who is here. The second thing is that it forces them to report all this discounts and compensation, all this money that they get from different places and make it available to health care plans.

Downing said Senate Bill 395 was about to be enacted by Governor Gianforte.

Another problem revealed by Downing is that the skyrocketing house prices also lead to a similar rise in home replacement costs, which will affect the premiums paid by homeowners.

“What we’ll do as an office is make sure we continue to reach out to the public and let them know what the problem is and whether they should speak with their insurance agent to make sure that it is properly covered for realistic expectations. replacement costs, ”he said.

In addition to rising insurance costs, Downing is deeply concerned about a surprising upcoming property tax hike, especially for those on fixed incomes, despite his office having no control over those costs.

“It scares me when it comes to someone who bought a house thirty to forty years ago; spent their lives paying off that mortgage, but now they’ve paid off the mortgage and they’re ready to retire. And the very real risk, as we have seen, property values ​​will only skyrocket due to a much higher revaluation and a much higher property tax bill with it. I think it’s a real risk that needs to be addressed. “

Downing said only the state legislature can solve the property tax problem.

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