Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

February 13, 2020

Senator Anwar Joins Announcement of New Legislation to Cap the Cost of Insulin

Draft bill will cap costs to $100 a month and allow for emergency insulin

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) joined a coalition of legislators including Senate Chair of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown), House Chair State Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford), Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven), Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven), State Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), advocates, and other members of the legislature announced a new bill to cap costs of insulin and allow for access to emergency insulin without a prescription.

Joining the bipartisan support for this legislation was Logan Merwin of Haddam and his mother Samantha Merwin. The two spoke of the financial burdens of providing Logan with his required insulin prescriptions.

“Insulin is a life-saving drug that countless Connecticut residents need to survive. For its cost to have grown exponentially in the past decade is inexcusable,” said Sen. Anwar. “Individuals with diabetes should not be forced to choose between paying their bills and paying for medicine. We need to take action to limit the cost of insulin – which was originally patented for $1 to ensure it wasn’t sold for profit like it is today.”

“We have two goals. One is saving money for families who need insulin in Connecticut; one is saving lives,” said Senator Lesser. “No one in Connecticut should die because they need insulin. In addition to capping costs, this bill helps families affected by skyrocketing insulin prices. For people on high-deductible plans, new federal guidance allows people to start accessing insulin and diabetic supplies at dollar one, before meeting their high deductible, so that is no longer a barrier to seeking care. We’re also seeking to create an emergency fund for people around Connecticut who have fallen through the cracks – like Logan Smith of Minnesota, who died because he turned 26, fell off his parents’ health plan and couldn’t afford the insulin he needed to stay alive. We’re also creating an emergency provision so if you are in diabetic shock, you can go to a pharmacist up to three times per year to get insulin without a prescription.”

“About one in 10 adults in Connecticut has diabetes, and for too long we have seen insulin patients struggle to afford the price of a drug that quadrupled in less than a decade. And we’re talking about, literally, a life-saving drug,” said Senate President Looney. “This bill, which is a priority for my caucus, will cap out-of-pocket monthly costs for insulin, therefore bringing some much-needed financial relief and – more importantly – peace of mind to insulin users in Connecticut. I want to applaud the co-chairs of the Insurance Committee, Senator Lesser and Representative Scanlon, for raising this exceedingly important public policy initiative.”

“The cost of insulin is out of control and the bill we announced today will ensure Connecticut residents finally have access to affordable insulin,” said Rep. Sean Scanlon. “By capping the cost of insulin and insulin supplies at $100 per month, Connecticut would have the lowest insulin costs in the country and diabetics would no longer have to worry about affording the medicine they need to survive.”

“When it comes to the high cost of health care we need a broad and comprehensive approach that addresses cost drivers and access in multiple ways. Capping the price of insulin is one of the ways we can help people afford a drug that is needed for every day survival,” said Sen. Kelly. “I want to thank my fellow leaders on the insurance committee for working in a bipartisan manner on this proposal and others. This is an important place to start and a conversation that must continue.”

The draft bill, LCO No. 1246, contains several provisions to help diabetes patients and their families including:

  • Capping insulin costs including for all insulin and diabetes supplies at $100/month. This would be the toughest cap in the country.
  • Allowing patients to go to a pharmacist up to three times a year on an emergency basis to get insulin filled without a prescription.
  • Using a fund created by unused prescriptions the Department of Social Services to fund a new program to assist low-income type 1 diabetics access insulin.

Releasing the specific bill language was the next step in the legislative process following the announcement last month by the Senate Democratic caucus that this proposal would be the number one priority for Senate Democrats as Senate Bill 1.

This timely proposed legislation comes as exorbitant Insulin costs are severely impacting Connecticut’s diabetes patients. According to Health Care Cost Institute, the cost of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, then doubled from that from 2012 to 2016.

This proposed legislation will enable the 11.4 percent of Connecticut’s population which has diabetes, and 36.5 percent with prediabetes, to afford life-saving Insulin without having to adopt the unsafe practice of rationing their medicine. Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in Connecticut.