A bill backed by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz would require health insurance companies to cover an extra month of prescriptions during a declared emergency stemming from coronavirus in New York. 

“As we take steps to prepare for the coronavirus, we must include our personal health needs,” Ortiz said. “New Yorkers should not have to worry about refilling their prescriptions if they are self-quarantined or are required to stay home from work because of the coronavirus,” Ortiz added. “While we are asking people to stock-up on everyday household supplies, groceries and over-the counter medicines, we must make sure this includes prescribed medications. My bill ensures that New Yorkers will have an additional 30-day supply of their needed prescription medications.”

The bill was introduced out of the concern that people will have difficulty filling prescriptions if the virus becomes widespread in New York. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier in the day announced there are now 22 confirmed cases in New York. 

“This will make getting refills of prescription medication very difficult,” Ortiz said. “My bill makes sure that insurance companies cannot create barriers to getting refills during this crisis.  We must be fully prepared and we will be.”

Cuomo this week announced the state Department of Financial Services was directing insurance companies to waive the cost of coronavirus testing and Medicaid recipients would not be required to make a co-pay.