DES MOINES, Iowa– The Iowa House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would cap the out of pocket cost of insulin for diabetic Iowans.
According to AARP more than 260,000 Iowans have been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
This bill would cap the cost of insulin at $100 for a 30 day supply. A family medicine pharmacist at Broadlawns Medical Center, Emily Beckett, said this would play a critical role for their patients who struggle to make these payments on a weekly basis.
“We see this every single day patients who are choosing between insulin which can be $200 or $300 a vial or a package of pens, having to choose between paying for that life-saving medication and food or activities for their children,” Beckett said.
Between 2012 and 2016, the cost of insulin nearly doubled in the U.S.
Today, depending on a person’s insurance plan, a vial of the life-saving drug can generally cost $200-$300. Those with Type 1 diabetes can use anywhere from two to six vials of insulin per month.
“So many people say, ‘I struggle between buying groceries and paying for my insulin.’ That’s not right,” Advocacy Director for AARP, Anthony Carroll said. “This is a step towards making it better for Iowans on how much they’re paying, and being able to afford life-saving drugs.”
Beckett said at least a third of Broadlawns patients struggle to pay for insulin. The pharmacist said this causes Iowans to end up paying thousands of dollars in hospital bills because they couldn’t afford this life-saving medication.
“Long term high blood sugars can lead to blindness to amputation to kidney problems,” Beckett said. “We see patients both in the clinic and in the hospital setting with some very near death experiences due to a potential lack of insulin because the cost is so prohibitive.”
The Iowa Senate now has to vote on the insulin cost cap bill. The Senate rejected a similar bill introduced to the legislature last year.