TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With many of Florida's 2.4 million diabetics experiencing dramatic increases in the cost of their life-supporting insulin medication, Democratic state lawmakers have filed legislation (HB 109/SB 116) to require health insurers to cap insulin co-pays at $100 per month.
Here's what you should know about the measure:
1) How quickly has the cost of insulin been increasing?
According to the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute, patients with Type 1 diabetes paid an average of $5,705 for their insulin in 2016, nearly double the $2,864 they were paying just four years earlier.
2) What explains the cost increases?
There is no clear answer. Health insurers largely blame insulin manufacturers for the increases, while many manufacturers say the larger price tags are being driven by insurers.
3) Which Florida diabetics would the new legislation affect?
Diabetics who receive their insulin through group or individual health insurance policies sold in Florida would see their insulin co-pays capped, reducing their annual expenditures for the drug to $1,200. The Democrats behind the legislation say working Floridians who aren't eligible for Medicaid need particular help paying for their insulin.
4) Does the legislation have opposition?
The bills were only recently filed, but sponsors do expect vocal opposition from the insurance lobby. Insurers have generally opposed mandatory co-pay caps, arguing that limiting their ability to charge policyholders for expensive drugs forces them to raise premiums across the board.
The Senate sponsor, Sen. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) told a press conference this month any claim to that effect is "patently false."
5) What happens next?
The bills have each been referred to three committees in their respective chambers, making their path to passage particularly difficult. Neither bill has yet to receive a hearing.
The 2020 legislative session begins in January.