Senate Approves Murray Bill Limiting Insulin Copays


STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Melissa A. Murray to limit insured patients’ copays for insulin used to treat diabetes to $40 for a 30-day supply.

“Insulin is both very widely used and absolutely critical to the lives of people with diabetes, many of whom are seniors or disabled people living on low fixed incomes. Unaffordable insulin costs are a serious threat to public health. According to the American Diabetes Association, about a third of the approximately 100,000 diabetes patients in Rhode Island use insulin, and a quarter of those patients ration their insulin. No one should have to choose between paying for their life-saving medication, keeping their lights on, or having enough groceries. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the Senate for taking that action today,” said Senator Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield).

The legislation (2021-S 0170A), which is part of the Senate’s prescription drug affordability legislative package, would apply to all insurance plans that cover insulin. Under the bill, insurers would be required to cap the total amount that any covered person is required to pay for covered insulin at $40 for a 30-day supply, regardless of the amount or type of insulin prescribed. It also forbids that coverage from being subject to any deductible. The bill does allow insurers to charge less, if they choose.

The cost of insulin has risen sharply in the last several years, and the cost is much higher in the United States than in other countries. Millions of Americans depend on insulin for the management of diabetes.

The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, is cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey, Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), Sen. Tiara Mack (D-Dist. 6, Providence), Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence), Sen. Meghan E. Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), Sen. Samuel W. Bell (D-Dist. 5, Providence), Sen. Bridget G. Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett, South Kingstown) and Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence).

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where House Speaker Pro Tempore is sponsoring a companion bill (2021-H 5196A).



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