FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has signed legislation to make insulin more affordable. He said Monday the bill is a “game-changer” for many people in a state with one of the nation’s highest diabetes rates.
The measure will limit the cost of insulin to $30 per 30-day supply for many Kentuckians. The cap applies to people with state-regulated health care plans or plans purchased on the marketplace exchange, state employees and people under group plans.
"After I meet my deductible, I probably pay $100 to $120 dollars a month," said Kevin Trager, talking about his cost out of pocket after health insurance for the life saving medication.
Trager is a type one diabetic, and has been using insulin to regulate his blood sugar for 20 years. He said without insurance, he would be spending hundreds of dollars a month on insulin.
“Health care is a human right,” Gov. Beshear said. “Capping the cost of insulin was the right thing to do to support every Kentuckian who has had to risk their own life or be afraid of permanently damaging their health just because they could not afford insulin. Today, they no longer have to live in fear – now this lifesaving medicine is affordable.”
In addition to the price cap, the bill requires health care benefit plans to provide equipment, supplies and training to help diabetics stay healthy.
"Hundreds of thousands of people in our commonwealth have no health insurance today," Trager said. "Thousands of diabetics have no health insurance. So, they're having to pay thousands of dollars a year for their insulin. Sad part is, if you can't afford health insurance, you can't afford your insulin."
Before it reached Gov. Beshear's desk, the bill received unanimous positive votes from both the House and Senate.
Insulin is used to keep people’s blood sugar at safe levels. Insulin varies by patient, as do costs depending on insurance coverage.
"It's a huge day for diabetics," Trager said. "There's a lot more work to do but this is a great step."
More than half a million people in Kentucky have diabetes and the state ranks 7th highest in the United States for diabetes prevalence. The constantly rising cost of insulin has led many people to go without or ration the life-saving drug.