The Affordable Insulin Now Act requires insurers to cap patient monthly out-of-pocket costs for insulin
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined 18 of her colleagues in introducing legislation to lower insulin costs. The Affordable Insulin Now Act will require health plans to cap patient out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month. The legislation would dramatically lower costs for insulin users, many of whom already face significant out-of-pocket costs for other diabetes treatments.
Right now, diabetics account for $1 of every $4 spent on health care in the U.S. According to one estimate, diabetics spend close to $6,000 annually on insulin alone. Meanwhile, a recent Senate Finance Committee report showed that insulin costs are surging and that drug manufacturers are reaping more revenue from insulin sales than in prior decades. The American Diabetes Association states that approximately 8.8% of all adult Minnesotans are diagnosed diabetics, and that diagnosed diabetes incurs an estimated $4.7 billion in medical costs for Minnesotans each year.
“Americans should not have to choose between risking their lives or risking financial ruin because of the unaffordable costs of long available drugs like insulin, especially as drug manufacturers increase their revenues from insulin sales,” said Klobuchar. “This legislation directly addresses rising insulin costs by capping out-of-pocket costs and lowering the unacceptable costs diabetics are forced to pay to receive treatment. It’s past time for Congress to take action and work to ensure that commonly-needed, life-saving medications are affordable and accessible to all Americans.”
Under the Affordable Insulin Now Act, private group or individual plans would be required to cover one of each insulin dosage form (vial, pen) and insulin type (rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting) for no more than $35 per month. Medicare Part D plans, and all Medicare Advantage plans, including stand-alone drug plans, would be required to charge no more than $35 for whichever insulin products they cover in 2023 and 2024, and for all insulin products beginning in 2025.
Klobuchar has long been a leader in the fight to lower prescription drug and insulin costs for Minnesota families. Last March, she introduced bicameral legislation with Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) to allow Medicare to negotiate affordable drug prices for seniors.
Last April, Klobuchar joined Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to introduce the bipartisan Stop Stalling Act, which would promote competition within the prescription drug market and reduce drug prices. She and Grassley also led legislation last February to allow Americans to safely import more affordable prescription drugs from Canada.
Klobuchar has continuously fought for patients that need insulin to survive. She previously pressed the CEOs of three leading pharmaceutical companies to address the sky-rocketing costs of insulin, emphasizing the need to take action to ensure insulin affordability.
Klobuchar also led successful efforts to hold Mylan accountable for fleecing taxpayers and state Medicaid programs by misclassifying Epi-Pen as a generic drug under Medicaid, and finally pressuring the company to lower the cost of EpiPen. Her efforts forced Mylan to enter a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to pay rebates back to state Medicaid programs.
In addition to Klobuchar, the Affordable Insulin Now Act is sponsored by Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). The legislation is also endorsed by: Protect Our Care; American Diabetes Association; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); American Federation of Teachers; Community Catalyst; Public Citizen; and Social Security Works.