A New Insulin Affordability Bill in MN

A New Insulin Affordability Bill in MN
Taylor Thooft, Pharm.D., Centra Care Health

In mid-April, the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, approved and signed a bill promoting insulin affordability for Minnesota residents to combat the continually rising costs of insulin. Effective July 2020, this bill establishes two safety net programs, both short-term and long-term, for patients urgently requiring insulin and struggling to afford medications. This bill does not provide a state-funded insulin access program, but instead requires insulin manufacturers to develop patient assistance programs to ensure affordable insulin for all patients or face regulatory fines for noncompliance.

The bill establishes minimum requirements manufacturers’ programs must follow. Basic eligibility criteria includes that the patient is a Minnesota resident, not be enrolled in medical assistance or MinnesotaCare, and not have prescription drug coverage with existing limits for cost sharing in regards to insulin products of $75 or less per month. Key provisions of the urgent need program include providing patients with a 30 day supply of an insulin product based on the patient’s prescribed dose at a maximum out of pocket cost of $35 to the patient. Patients are eligible to use the urgent fill program once every 12 months. Some patients may be eligible for the continued safety net program, in which patients may receive a 90 day supply of an insulin product for a maximum of $50 in out- of-pocket costs. 

The bill also provides funding for establishing navigators who will assist patients using the safety net programs to find long-term insulin supply solutions. The bill is named the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, in memory of a man who died after rationing his insulin. This bill hopes to provide an option for those struggling to afford insulin and prevent similar tragedies in the future. 

References:

  1. Minnesota House of Representatives. Hf 3100. 5th Engrossment. St. Paul; Minnesota House of Representatives. 2020.

  2. Bakst B. Walz Signs Affordable Insulin Bill. St. Paul, Minnesota: MPR News; April,15 2020. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/04/15/walz-signs-affordable-insulin-bill. Accessed May 1, 2020.