State Senator Gustavo Rivera Introduces Legislation To Further Reduce Insulin Cost Sharing

New bill caps New Yorkers cost-sharing to $30 per type of insulin per month to further protect New Yorkers from having to ration the life-saving medication

(Bronx, NY) - This week, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, introduced a new bill in the State Senate as part of his Insulin For All package, (S.8255). This bill will further reduce the cap on cost-sharing for insulin from the current $100 per type of insulin per month to $30 per type of insulin per month.  

This new measure builds on the important step taken by New York State to enact a $100 cap on each type of insulin per month during the 2020-21 New York State Budget. Yet, people with diabetes often rely on two or three different types of insulin, which could result in a $200 to $300 out-of-pocket monthly expense. This legislation caps insulin copays and deductibles to $30 per insulin per month, which is more in line with Senator Rivera's original legislation, S.6492A, as well as similar measures initiated by several states across the country to address skyrocketing insulin prices. For example, Utah recently adopted a $30 copay cap while states such as New Mexico, Virginia, California, and Connecticut are all in various stages of passing and adopting copay caps ranging from $25 to $50 per insulin type. 

"The high cost of insulin is putting the lives of diabetic New Yorkers at risk, especially of those who are financially strained," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. "While we took a very important first step during this year's budget, it is certainly not enough. This bill, along with the rest of the Insulin For All legislative package, will make insulin more affordable and accessible for diabetic New Yorkers, while moving New York State in the right direction." 

According to the American Diabetes Association, the average cost of insulin tripled in less than a decade and New Yorkers with diabetes face medical expenses approximately 2.3 times higher than those who do not have diabetes. Consequently, this has led to patients rationing the small amount of medication they can afford. Unfortunately, complications from rationing insulin are extreme and in some cases result in amputations, diabetic ketoacidosis, and even death. The skyrocketing cost of insulin is not related to advances or changes to the drug, only to enhance profit margins in this country despite drastically lower prices in other countries for the same products. To further increase access to affordable insulin to diabetic New Yorkers who are insured, underinsured, and uninsured, Senator Rivera sponsors two other bills under his Insulin For All package:

- S.6492A:  Ensures access to insulin for New Yorkers by creating a drug assistance demonstration program and allowing for emergency refills of expired prescriptions in certain cases.
S.7771: Creates an Emergency Insulin Program so uninsured or underinsured New Yorkers can get analog insulins at certain pharmacies when in need. 

"New York #insulin4all applauds the work of Senator Gustavo Rivera's Office to ensure that insulin, a life-saving and life-sustaining medication that costs just dollars to make, is affordable to every New York state resident who needs it to live during this exceptional time. The list price of insulin has increased over 1200% in the last two decades causing as many as 1 in 4 people with type 1 diabetes to ration insulin in the years leading up to this crisis, putting them at increased risk for potentially fatal complications including DKA. Lowering the copay price to $30 per prescription brings us one step closer to #insulin4all. However, not every New York State resident has the private, employer-sponsored health insurance that this important law regulates. We will continue partnering with Senator Rivera to ensure the passage of progressive legislation including the Insulin Drug Assistance Demonstration Program which paves the way to financially assist all uninsured and underinsured diabetics in New York State afford insulin. We work across city and state to make sure all people living with insulin-dependent diabetes, including those who are currently uninsured after losing their job amidst Covid-19, are able to afford the medications they need to survive," said Karlynn Holland, Chapter Leader, New York #insulin4all


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