Nelson: Senate Health and Human Services Committee hears bill establishing insulin affordability program

Barely three days into the 2020 legislative session, the Minnesota Senate is taking action to help diabetics who are struggling to afford their insulin. The Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee on Thursday heard legislation to establish a Patient Insulin Assistance Program.

“The Senate’s Insulin Assistance program leverages pre-existing programs to provide emergency Insulin to Minnesotans who can’t afford it, without establishing another government healthcare program,” said Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester).

The Senate plan will allow eligible patients to receive an emergency 30-day supply of insulin at their local pharmacy through one of the most affordable emergency insulin programs in the country.

The legislation also includes a long-term plan to provide better insulin access to Minnesotans who are unable to afford their medicine by requiring drug manufacturers to make insulin available at no-cost to eligible patients.

Last year, the Senate passed legislation prohibiting health plans from making a profit on insulin. Because of that law, Minnesota’s health insurers voluntarily began offering at least one plan that caps out-of-pocket insulin costs for their customers at $25 or less including those who purchase plans through MNsure.