Brainerd Dispatch

U.S. Sen. 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 healthcare 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 insulin costs are surging and drug manufacturers are reaping more revenue from insulin sales than in prior decades. The American Diabetes Association states 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,” Klobuchar said in a news release. “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.