Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, voted to pass H.R. 6833, the Affordable Insulin Now Act. This bill would cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at no more than $35 per month in Medicare Part D and commercial health insurance, ensuring vital and affordable access to this life-saving medication for the more than 37 million people in the United States who have diabetes. The Affordable Insulin Now Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 232 to 193.
“Alabamians are being crushed by the astronomical cost of insulin which is forcing families across our state to choose between putting food on the table or purchasing this life-saving medication,” Sewell said. “This is unacceptable and it’s why I was proud to join my colleagues in voting to pass the Affordable Insulin Now Act to ensure that no Alabamian pays more than $35 dollars per month for insulin.”
Insulin is too expensive for millions of Americans, with 1 in 4 Americans who rely on insulin cutting back on or skipping doses due to costs. Some 34 percent of families with children dependent on insulin have been impacted by rising insulin costs, including adverse health effects and increased stress and anxiety. Some 26 percent of Americans with diabetes ration their insulin at least once a year — putting themselves at grave health risk because of cost.
In 2018, more than a dozen people died while rationing their insulin due to the high cost. Insulin prices in the United States are much higher than other countries and continue to increase, with Americans paying more than 10 times the price of insulin compared to other similar high-income countries. From 2014 to 2019, the average retail price of insulin rose by 54 percent.
The Affordable Insulin Now Act will have a real impact on millions of Americans. Beginning in 2023, the bill would require private health plans to cover at least one of each type and dosage form of insulin and would cap cost-sharing for a 30-day supply at the lesser of $35 or 25 percent of a plan’s negotiated price. The bill would also require all Medicare prescription drug plans to cap cost-sharing for insulin at no more than $35.
Among individuals with private insurance, half would save at least $19 per month and a quarter would save at least $42 per month. Individuals who buy their own insurance will experience the most savings.