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New legislation would cap the cost of insulin in Nebraska
January 13, 2020 (Lincoln, NE) — Senator Kate Bolz introduced legislation today to improve insulin affordability in Nebraska. The bill caps the total co-pay for a one month supply of insulin at $100. Over the past fourteen years, the out of pocket cost of many insulin brands increased 555% adjusted for inflation, according to the American Medical Association.
“For the 174,000 Nebraskans with diabetes, the spike in insulin costs is a real problem,” said Senator Kate Bolz. “These are our relatives, friends and neighbors who have to make decisions they know will damage their health, simply because they can no longer afford their insulin dosage.”
According to the American Medical Association, nearly 1 in 4 diabetics have reported rationing or skipping insulin doses because of cost. Deviating from prescribed insulin can result in serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness, and death. From 2012 to 2016, the average annual cost of insulin nationwide has increased from $2,900 per year to $5,700. Currently, no medication is known to substitute for insulin to manage diabetes.
The legislation brought by Senator Bolz proposes to cap patient out of pocket expenses for prescription insulin drugs to no more than $100 per month. The bill would be suspended if it results in an insurance premium increase of more than 3 percent.
“With over 7 million Americans relying on insulin to live, the American Diabetes Association is committed to bringing down insulin prices for all those who need it. Senator Bolz’s efforts to make insulin more affordable and accessible is a critical step towards that goal, and we applaud her for standing up for the more than 170,000 Nebraskans living with diabetes,” said Christine Fallabel, Director of State Government Affairs with the American Diabetes Association.
The 174,000 Nebraskans with diabetes represent 11.6% of the state’s population, and 8,000 additional Nebraskans receive a diagnosis each year. Furthermore, an additional 487,000 (38.5% of the state’s population) have prediabetes. Of these Nebraskans, the American Diabetes Association projects that 15% to 30% will develop diabetes in the next ten years.
“The insulin cost crisis in our state is an unprecedented health issue in cost and scale,” said Senator Kate Bolz. “We simply can’t continue a situation where 1 in 10 Nebraskans rely on a drug that doubles in price every few years. This bill addresses insulin affordability while protecting insurance premium payers.”
Senator Kate Bolz of Lincoln represents District #29 in the Nebraska Legislature