Insurance Commissioner Navarro, Lt. Governor Hall-Long to Host Dover COVID Vaccine and Flu Shot Clinic

Local independent pharmacy to administer important immunizations

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, in collaboration with Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long and Kevin Musto, R.Ph., FAPhA, independent pharmacist with Atlantic Apothecary, has announced a COVID Vaccination and Flu Shot Clinic on Thursday, November 18 from 1:00 to 4:00PM at the Delaware Department of Insurance’s Dover Office, 1351 West North Street. Weather permitting, the event will take place outdoors.

“Both the COVID-19 vaccines and the flu shot are safe and effective, and I’m proud to be able to offer them at our Dover office. Each are vital in helping to avoid significant illness, including hospitalization and death, and can be received during the same visit – including at our November 18 event,” said Commissioner Navarro, who will be getting his next dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the event.Be A Virus Fighter Flyer

All three types of COVID-19 vaccines – Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer – will be available. Pfizer will be provided to eligible residents 5 years and older, Moderna is available for those 12 and older, and Johnson & Johnson for those 18 and older. All levels of vaccination will be offered, including first, second, third and booster doses. Flu shots are available and recommended for those 6 months and older. High-dose flu shots for those 65+ will also be administered at no charge with a Medicare card. Minors must have a guardian’s consent to receive their immunization.

Residents should bring their photo ID or other identification, insurance information or Medicare card, and their prescription or pharmacy card if applicable. Those who have previously received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should bring their vaccine card or other documentation if possible. Vaccinations records can be obtained via the DelVAX system. For a faster registration, flu shot recipients can download and complete their Influenza Fluzone form in advance. There is a separate Influenza Fluzone form for those 65+  who wish to receive the high-dose flu vaccine. Participants will be asked to wear a mask and observe social distancing protocols.

Commissioner Navarro also expressed his gratitude to the pharmacists who have been providing these important immunizations throughout the state, saying “This event, and so many others, wouldn’t be possible without local pharmacies and their dedicated staff. We are grateful for their service to our communities.”

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit or call 1-800-282-8672. For information about where to get the COVID-19 vaccine, visit or call 1-833-643-1715.

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility for Johnson and Johnson second dose, third and booster doses of Moderna and Pfizer, and age-based eligibility for vaccination are all subject to change prior to the event. More information on COVID-19 vaccine doses is available through the Delaware Division of Health.

View event flyer or email  for a full-size flyer.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Media availability will be at 3PM. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to

Delaware to Regulate Multi-Billion-Dollar Pharmacy Benefit Manager Industry, Protecting Consumers and Local Businesses

Department of Insurance will lead effort to rein in monopolistic behavior and excessive pharmaceutical costs

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced today that the Delaware Department of Insurance will begin the process of building and enforcing regulations regarding Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) as a new law goes into effect. The new authorities of the department will ensure consumer access to affordable medications and protect local pharmacies from the predatory behaviors exhibited by the PBM industry through measures of transparency and corporate accountability.

“Alongside members of the General Assembly, advocates, pharmacy representatives, and industry stakeholders, we have been working towards this goal for years. We have heard the voices of those who have had to travel hundreds of miles for their children’s medications. We have heard the plight of the local pharmacies, the way they have been financially devastated by PBM’s preference of their own chains. We have watched as other states were taken advantage of by these companies and cheered those states on as they took action to stop predatory practices. We have seen partners in this fight retaliated against by these companies, and we mourned as more and more neighborhood pharmacies had to close their doors,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, referencing the work of the Pharmacy Reimbursement Task Force and other legislative initiatives and discussions. “Now, with these new powers, we say ‘No more.’”

HB 219, sponsored by Rep. Andria Bennett, Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola, and Rep. Mike Smith, was passed by the General Assembly unanimously and recently became law, bringing Delaware’s oversight of the multi-billion-dollar industry on par with leading states.

PBMs act as intermediaries for prescription drug plans, influencing what medications will be covered and the costs of those drugs for both consumers and pharmacies. These companies bring in billions through manufacturer rebates, limiting generic drug offerings, and retaining negotiated savings, while costs for consumers continue to rise. The largest PBMs operate their own pharmacy chains, and their consolidated market power has, prior to this law, allowed them to pay unaffiliated pharmacies unsustainably low reimbursement rates – rates lower than it costs the pharmacy to dispense the drug to a consumer. PBMs’ move toward monopolization has contributed to waves of independent pharmacy closures across the nation, especially in rural, inner city, and under-served areas that already crave equity and access.

“I have worked on this issue for years and have seen firsthand how pharmacy benefit managers’ predatory practices have increased consumer costs while decreasing consumer access and driving out small, unaffiliated pharmacies. With healthcare cost emphasized throughout the pandemic, it is more important than ever to have these protections in place,” said Rep. Andria Bennett, the prime sponsor of HB 219 and chair of the Pharmacy Reimbursement Task Force. “This new law passed the General Assembly unanimously, and it did so because there are two things we all agree on: that the cost of prescription drugs is far too high, and that billionaire corporations should not be above the law.”

The new law aims to solve many issues of access and inequal treatment through use of the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost for pharmacy reimbursement, prohibiting inequal payments to unaffiliated pharmacies, and providing the Department of Insurance the ability to investigate PBMs, enforce consumer protection measures, and incentivize corrections through increased regulatory authority. In order to better understand PBM’s existing processes, the department recently began introductory Market Conduct exams on registered PBMs, known to be the first investigations of this kind in the nation. These initial examinations will not result in fines or enforcement actions, but will highlight areas for improvement, including those that are not compliant with the new law, and will require corrective action plans.

Rep. Mike Smith – a prime sponsor of HB 219 – stated, “This is an exciting moment for Delaware. This was a collaborative effort to support Delaware’s small, independent pharmacies and all Delawareans. At the end of the day, consumer protection won, and I’m proud of the work we did to bring accountability to PBMs.”

“Reducing prescription drug prices will directly improve the health and welfare of our neighbors,” said Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, Senate prime sponsor of HB 219. “This new law will provide for greater oversight of the pharmacy benefit manager industry, allowing for more consistent prescription drug prices and ensuring expanded access to the medications Delawareans rely on. I am proud to have helped champion HB 219 alongside Rep. Bennett and look forward to Delawareans reaping the benefits of this expanded oversight.”

While independent pharmacies faced retaliation from the multi-billion-dollar giants, including through costly audits, they continued to advocate for change. Now, they are celebrating the new law and the protections it holds for their customers.

“The true beneficiaries of this new PBM oversight will be the patients. They have always deserved health care that is accessible, affordable and transparent – not barriers to care, higher costs and excuses while PBMs lined their pockets. Having the Delaware Insurance Commissioner’s office oversee PBMs will greatly assist underserved and vulnerable populations who struggle to afford their medications, and who have experienced barriers to patient care,” explained Kevin Musto, R.Ph., FAPhA, an independent pharmacist.

The Delaware Pharmacy Society also shared their enthusiasm for the new law. “We are tremendously delighted with enactment of HB 219, which increases transparency and equity in pharmacy benefit management. It is our belief that this law will result in increased access to health benefits for Delawareans, provided at the most accessible health care providers – pharmacies. This law makes Delaware a pioneer in controlling health care costs,” they stated.

In the coming months, the Department of Insurance will draft relevant regulations, receiving input from stakeholders during that process. After draft regulations are developed, they will be published, and the public will have 30 days to comment.

Three Residents Indicted for Insurance Fraud by Grand Jury

Late last month in New Castle County, a Grand Jury indicted multiple residents for insurance fraud. The indictments stem from Department of Insurance Fraud Prevention Bureau investigations, in partnership with the Delaware Department of Justice. They allege that following vehicle accidents, each indicted resident did knowingly present false information to auto insurers or otherwise caused false information to be presented.

“I want to commend our Fraud Prevention Bureau for their work identifying deceitful activity and helping to bring those who would defraud Delaware residents and companies to justice. Their efforts continue to send a strong message that fraud will not go unnoticed here, which can prevent future crimes,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “Through this work, we can help keep insurance premiums from rising by helping to make sure companies do not have to pay out fraudulent claims, and we can educate residents that engaging in fraud is very costly.”

A resident of Wilmington was indicted on September 27 following a two-vehicle auto accident and a fraudulent claim filed with Permanent General Insurance. The resident had no insurance at the time of the accident but obtained it afterward, and intentionally misrepresented the date of the accident to obtain a benefit that they were not entitled to. Video evidence was uncovered that confirmed the accurate date of the accident.

A resident of Newark was indicted on September 27 for knowingly misrepresenting the time of an auto accident. During the investigation, evidence was obtained that confirmed that the resident had no auto insurance coverage at the time of their accident and that their auto insurance policy was obtained after the accident had occurred. They engaged in insurance fraud through intentionally providing false information in order to obtain a benefit that they were not entitled to from Good to Go Insurance.

An additional resident was indicted for similar activity in an attempt to defraud Progressive Insurance. The resident obtained an auto insurance policy and filed a claim two days later, stating that their vehicle was struck by an unknown vehicle while parked at their residence. An examination of vehicle damage was inconsistent with this depiction, and the investigation further identified that the vehicle was involved in an accident three days prior to obtaining insurance coverage.

An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Insurance Fraud is a felony.

Commissioner Navarro has a background in law enforcement and serves as Chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s Antifraud Task Force. The Delaware Department of Insurance Fraud Prevention Bureau is fully funded by annual assessment fees, not taxpayer dollars, and employs staff with extensive law enforcement and insurance investigative backgrounds and training, including credentials such as Certified Fraud Specialists and Accredited Healthcare Fraud Investigators.

The Bureau facilitates the detection of insurance fraud and works to reduce fraud occurrence through enforcement and deterrence. Additionally, the Bureau requires restitution for deceptively obtained insurance benefits, and by doing so reduces the amount of premium dollars used to pay fraudulent claims, in turn decreasing the likelihood of premium increases. The Bureau can be reached by toll free hotline (800) 632-5154, or (302) 672-7350, or by emailing Reporting known or suspected fraud is free of charge and can be done confidentially.

Medicare Assistance Bureau Shares Resources in Advance of Open Enrollment

Free one-on-one counseling and information available to residents; Bureau earns federal grant

The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (DMAB), a division of the Delaware Department of Insurance, is encouraging residents to get ready for Medicare Open Enrollment. DMAB, which provides free, one-on-one Medicare counseling, offers a myriad of virtual appointment options for residents, as well as video tutorials and other guides that can assist in beneficiaries’ preparation. DMAB has provided more than 3,000 counseling sessions so far this year, saving beneficiaries more than $372,438 in premiums through application help.

DMAB will engage in thousands of counseling sessions during Medicare Open Enrollment, which takes place October 15 through December 7. During this time, beneficiaries can make changes to their health and drug coverage and review existing coverage against other options. DMAB will offer virtual appointments throughout this period, available via Webex, Duo, and Microsoft Teams, as well as by phone. Residents are encouraged to register for a account prior to their counseling session so that DMAB can generate personalized plan comparisons.

“Our DMAB team works to increase residents’ understanding of the complex Medicare system and can even help save you money. I encourage the community to reach out to our team for Medicare assistance and information,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro.

A Virtual Medicare Seminar, which DMAB began to offer in 2020, is available on-demand online, and educates participants on topics including Medicare benefits, supplemental insurance policies, Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug coverage and details on signing up. While specifically created for new or soon-to-be eligible beneficiaries, the informative series can be helpful for all Medicare participants.

“Many people have questions about Medicare and don’t know where to start, and COVID-19 has only increased the stress of choosing the right healthcare plans. We are here to help people in Delaware deal with the complex and often confusing health insurance system,” said DMAB Director Lakia Turner, “and, we’re more accessible than ever through our new virtual programs.”

As Medicare Open Enrollment approaches, the Department of Insurance reminds residents to scrutinize any contact during the open enrollment period to ensure it is from a known, credible source. The most frequent fraudulent contact occurs by phone, but residents should review all communications carefully.

“If you are receiving contact regarding Medicare that you did not initiate, or contact not from one of your healthcare providers, it could be fraudulent,” said Commissioner Navarro. “Protect your Medicare Number like you do your Social Security number or bank account information, and never give it out to unknown or unexpected callers.”

DMAB has been awarded a Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) 2021 Grant from the federal government, which will provide the bureau $71,943. The annual MIPPA grant has and will assist the bureau’s outreach, education, and one-on-one beneficiary assistance programs over the next year by assisting those beneficiaries who are likely to be eligible for the Low-Income Subsidy program (also called “Extra Help”) or Medicare Savings Programs.

The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau provides free one-on-one health insurance counseling for people eligible for Medicare. Residents can call DMAB at 1-(800) 336-9500 or (302) 674-7364 to set up a free, confidential session. Counselors can assist with Medicare, Medicaid, Medigap (Medicare supplement insurance), long term care insurance, billing issues, prescription savings, and much more.

 View DMAB’s 2021 Open Enrollment Flyer

$12.3 Million in Health Insurance Rebates for Individuals and Small Businesses

Highmark plan participants and groups to receive checks

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced today that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware will issue rebates totaling over $12.3 million to some Delawareans. Residents who purchase insurance on the Delaware Health Insurance Marketplace, those who purchase Highmark Delaware plans outside of the marketplace, and Highmark small group policyholders may receive rebates as a result of the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) calculation.

MLR measures an insurer’s spending on medical expenses to confirm that at least 80 percent of premiums are being used for policyholders’ healthcare and prescription needs. It is an accountability measure included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that holds insurers to a strict standard and requires refunds if the threshold is not met. Insurers are not permitted to retain funds above this value for any reason, including to lower premiums for future years, as the policyholders effected may change. MLR is calculated on a three-year average – 2018, 2019, and 2020 were used in this assessment.

“Requiring insurers to meet the MLR ratio is one of the most critical tools the ACA gave us to protect consumers. These guardrails ensure residents and small businesses get the care they pay for, or get their money back – and they’re more important now than ever before,” explained Commissioner Navarro, who pointed to policyholders’ decreased and delayed use of healthcare throughout the pandemic as something likely to necessitate future rebates. “With decreased utilization of health services in 2020 and 2021 factoring into MLR for the next four years, and expected increases of utilization factoring into rates for 2022, this is yet another reminder that COVID will impact all aspects of healthcare, including insurance, for much of the foreseeable future.”

20,857 individual policyholders will receive rebates totaling over $8.4 million, with the average rebate being $405. This will be the second time in state history that rebates will be distributed to the participants of the individual market, with more than $12.6 million being sent to over 19,000 residents last year.

Highmark small groups, often small businesses, will receive nearly $3.9 million in cumulative return. 2,573 groups will receive an average rebate of $1,514, with 20 groups receiving rebates over $10,000. Employers can consider using these dollars to enhance benefits, reduce premiums for employees in future policy years, or provide refunds directly to group health plan participants.

Communications will be sent to policyholders in September and checks for both individual policyholders and small groups will be sent the week of September 15. Not every policyholder will receive a rebate. Those in the individual market with rebate questions can contact Highmark at 800-544-6679. Small group employers with rebate questions can contact their insurance producer, or Highmark at 800-241-5704.