SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – There are approximately 201,025 people in Utah who have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, and many are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of insulin.
“When you need four bottles of insulin a month and they’re $328.00 apiece, nobody just has that kind of money lying around,” Kameron Ainsworth told ABC4 News.
Kameron’s husband, Jeremy, has type 1 diabetes.
A bill making its way through the Utah legislative session would drastically drop the cost of insulin, which is the medicine diabetics need to survive.
House Bill 207 would cap copays for insulin at $30.00 a month, or more specifically, “cap the total amount that an insured is required to pay for insulin at an amount not to exceed $30 per 30-day supply of insulin, regardless of the amount or type of insulin needed to fill the insured’s prescription.”
Utah Representative Norm Thurston, (R) Provo, filed the bill on Tuesday.
“Realistically, we just need to make sure that people are getting what they need to survive and that they’re able to afford it,” he told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson.
Lawmakers have implemented and considered similar measures in other states.
“The insurance companies don’t need a bill to tell them what to do. They know this is the right thing to do. Many of them are already doing it. We just need to have a social commitment by the rest of the insurance companies that they will do this,” Thurston said.
A recent survey conducted by UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics finds 78-percent of the 800 Utahns surveyed, support a cap on copays.
The Provo representative said cost isn’t the only barrier and cites access as another issue. To help solve the problem, Thurston’s bill would increase the number of professions that can be licensed to prescribe insulin. Under his bill, pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and registered nurses would be able to prescribe the life-saving drug.
“Imagine if you lived in a small community and it’s hard to get into the city to go see the doctors. You have to travel, the appointments aren’t convenient, it’s really tough. But you can go talk to your pharmacist and the pharmacist can counsel you about your diabetes and what’s going on and change your prescription for needs to be adjusted,” he explained.
The bill leaves out people who are uninsured.
The read HB 207 in its entirety and learn everything it would do if passed into law, click here.
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