Expanding Access to Insulin

February 14, 2020

Thursday, February 13, I was honored to stand with State Senator Matt Lesser (D – Middletown), Senate Chair of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee, State Representative Sean Scanlon (D – Guilford), House Chair of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D – New Haven), Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R – North Haven), State Senator Kevin Kelly (R – Stratford), advocates and other lawmakers for a press conference to announce a new bill proposal that seeks to cap insulin costs and authorize access to emergency insulin without a prescription.

I am grateful for Sen. Lesser's outstanding leadership to expand access to insulin. No one should have to choose between affording life’s necessities and life-saving medication, like insulin. I was proud to stand with a bipartisan coalition including the Insurance and Real Estate Committee Co-Chairs Rep. Scanlon and Sen. Lesser to announce this bill that will restrict the price on insulin and insulin supplies. A bottle of insulin costs on average $5 to make, but the out-of-pocket expense for some customers is astronomical. We cannot allow this practice to continue.

The following provisions are included in the proposal to help patients with diabetes:

  • Require that any fully insured plan cover each insulin or other glucose lowering agent prescription at a cost to patients of no more than $50 per prescription per month, inclusive of cost sharing, copay etc. (this would be lowest dollar amount in the nation)

  • Require that any fully insured plan cap the total cost of insulin supplies (diabetic test strips, lancets and lancing devices, syringes) at $100 per month.

  • Require pharmacists to dispense insulin and insulin supplies to patients without a prescription on an emergency basis up to three times a year (this is a national bill known as "Kevin's Law" which has been passed in 16 states so far)

  • Require that all plans (including high deductible plans) allow insulin on a first-dollar basis as allowed under IRS Notice 2019-45.

  • Require that the Department of Social Services report to the joint standing committees on appropriations and insurance on the feasibility of establishing a fund to assist low income diabetics afford insulin and insulin supplies funded by enhanced using the drug return program established in 17b-363a of the General Statutes.

The bill is currently in draft form and will have a public hearing before it is voted on by the Insurance & Real Estate Committee.

According to an analysis conducted by the American Diabetes Association on insulin affordability, insulin prices nearly tripled from 2002 to 2013. The Health Care Cost Institute found consumer spending on insulin doubled from 2012 to 2016, largely due to price increases for insulin. Today, a vial of insulin can cost between $350 to $400.

Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the state and affects 11.4 percent of Connecticut residents. Approximately 36.5 percent of Connecticut residents have prediabetes. However, estimates could be higher as some individuals may be undiagnosed.​

Turco Talk Time

Thank you Theresa Sanderson for testifying in support of SB 1 (read it here) and HB 5175 (read it here) Tuesday afternoon and for sharing your deeply personal story about your daughter's recent diabetes diagnosis.