Colorado representatives react to new insulin cost-cap program

On the House floor Friday, Colorado Rep. Susan Beckman praised Cigna and Express Scripts’ recent announcement of a program that will cap out-of-pocket costs at $25 dollars per 30-day supply of insulin for people with diabetes who are covered by participating plans.

“We’ve sat and listened to people who pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for insulin,” Beckman said. “And it’s been really difficult to really address what needs to happen in this committee, because some of us want more free market, and some of us want more government control. But this is going to help a lot of people. “

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In a press release Wednesday, Cigna and Express Scripts announced the launch of their “Patient Assurance Program,” which the companies said will save eligible people roughly 40 percent on insulin costs.

“For people with diabetes, insulin can be as essential as air. We need to ensure these individuals feel secure in their ability to afford every fill so they don’t miss one dose, which can be dangerous for their health,” said Steve Miller, M.D., Cigna’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer. “Together, Cigna and Express Scripts are now able to give people who rely on insulin greater affordability and cost predictability so they can focus on what matters most: their well-being.”

Beckman said the announcement should arrive as good news for members who sit on Colorado’s Health & Insurance Committee, because they’ve “had about six bills this year about the high cost and exploitative costs of insulin.”

Rep. Dylan Roberts agreed that it should come as good news — but reiterated that it doesn’t mean legislative work on the issue should stop.

“It is good news,” Roberts said. “It is also no reason to stop working, in this building, to address the high cost of prescription drugs…It is proof and an admission from this company that insulin can be that cheap. And so, when they come and tell us that it can’t possibly that cheap, they are admitting that they are not telling the truth. So, I urge us to keep working on this issue. This is only just the beginning, but thank you for the good news, Rep. Beckman.”

Roberts is a prime sponsor on a bill that would require carriers to reduce cost-sharing for insulin and require an investigation into and report on pricing of prescription insulin drugs.

That bill passed out of the House Health & Insurance Committee with a 9-2 vote and is now in the House Appropriations Committee.