American Diabetes Association Asks Gov. Herbert To Ease Cost Of Insulin During Pandemic
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As Governor Gary Herbert reviews House bill 207, a measure that would cap copayments on insulin, American Diabetes Association officials asked him to consider additional relief for diabetics during the COVID-19 health and financial crisis.
More than 850,00 people in Utah live with diabetes and pre-diabetes, according to ADA officials. The disease can weaken a diabetic’s immune system making them high-risk patients to infections like COVID-19.
Because of the financial crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, more and more people are losing their jobs and medical insurance. ADA officials said this is especially problematic for American diabetics, who now face significant out-of-pocket costs for insulin and other supplies.
In a letter sent to Hebert, ADA CEO Tracey Brown said, “the cost of insulin has skyrocketed, nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013.”
The letter also said a recent survey found nearly a quarter of all insulin users were dealing with the rising costs by rationing the lifesaving drug.
The letter lists two actions Herbert can take to help diabetics survive the crisis: Eliminate cost-sharing for insulin in state-regulated health insurance plans and ensure Americans living with diabetes who lose their job temporarily due to the current pandemic have continuous access to health insurance.
Ways to do this include automatically enrolling these patients into Medicaid, prohibiting the removal of people from Medicaid and state-regulated health insurance plans if they fail to pay or are late in paying premiums, temporarily waiving documentation requirements for continued Medicaid eligibility, expanding special enrollment periods in your state throughout the declared state of emergency and other available means.
“We stand ready to support your efforts to take these bold, yet urgent steps to protect the state from further fallout of the pandemic and blunt the impact on Americans in your state who live with diabetes,” Brown said in the statement.
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