Senator Reverend Warnock Challenges Nation’s Major Insurers to Reduce or Eliminate Out-of-Pocket Insulin Costs

Senator Reverend Warnock, health care champion and author of the Affordable Insulin Now Act, this morning challenged seven major insurance companies to reduce or eliminate the out-of-pocket costs of insulin for their beneficiaries

The Senator sent letters to Anthem HealthCentene CorporationCigna CorporationCVS HealthHumanaKaiser Permanente, and Molina Healthcare, Inc

The Senator’s latest push follows UnitedHealthcare’s July 15th announcement that the company will eliminate out-of-pocket costs of insulin for its beneficiaries

In the state of Georgia, one million people have diabetes, which is 12 percent of the state’s adult population

Senator Reverend Warnock to Insurers: “Patients who already have health insurance, and pay health insurance premiums, should be able to afford their insulin. This life-preserving medicine must be accessible and affordable for those who need it”

ICYMI: Motivated by Senator Reverend Warnock’s Affordable Insulin Now Act, Major U.S. Insurer UnitedHealthcare Announces They Will Eliminate Out-of-Pocket Costs for Insulin, Other Prescription Drugs

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) challenged seven major health insurers to reduce or eliminate the out-of-pocket costs of insulin for their respective beneficiaries. The Senator sent letters to Anthem HealthCentene CorporationCigna CorporationCVS HealthHumanaKaiser Permanente, and Molina Healthcare, Inc. The Senator’s latest push follows UnitedHealthcare’s July 15th announcement that the company will eliminate out-of-pocket costs of insulin for its beneficiaries.

“The high cost of insulin is an issue that touches far too many Georgians and Americans,” Senator Reverend Warnock wrote to insurers.“…Patients who already have health insurance, and pay health insurance premiums, should be able to afford their insulin. This life-preserving medicine must be accessible and affordable for those who need it.”

“It is clear that there is momentum behind the push to lower the cost of insulin,” continued Senator Reverend Warnock to insurers.“We need to ensure affordability for all insulin users, and we cannot afford to wait another day. Amidst rising costs and an uncertain economy, Georgians want affordable insulin now. I urge you to put people before profits, and to act right away to reduce or eliminate the out-of-pocket costs of insulin for your beneficiaries.”

In Georgia, over one million people have diabetes, which is 12 percent of the state’s adult population. According to data collected by Peterson-KFF, more than “1 in 20 insulin users whose costs currently exceed [a $35] cap in the private insurance markets pay more than $150 per month per insulin product.” Since joining the Senate, Senator Warnock has received more than 5,000 letters from Georgians asking him to act to lower prescription drug prices, over 600 about insulin specifically.

Senator Warnock, a long-time champion of affordable, quality health care, introduced the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which caps the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 for insulin users on private insurance and Medicare plans. The Senator has worked since February to build support in his party for the legislation, including garnering co-sponsorships from a majority of his Democratic Senate colleagues as well as securing the bill’s bipartisan passage through the House of Representatives. Additionally, the Senator has garnered major endorsements for his legislation, including from the American Diabetes Association. Recently, the Senator secured his $35 out-of-pocket cap legislation as a provision in the Shaheen-Collins bipartisan insulin legislative package.

Read Senator Warnock’s full letter to Anthem HealthCentene CorporationCigna CorporationCVS HealthHumanaKaiser Permanente, and Molina Healthcare, Inc or below:

I write to urge you to reduce or eliminate the out-of-pocket costs of insulin for your beneficiaries, as soon as possible. The high cost of insulin is an issue that touches far too many Georgians and Americans. 

According to data collect by Peterson-KFF, more than “1 in 20 insulin users whose costs currently exceed [a $35] cap in the private insurance markets pay more than $150 per month per insulin product.”  Studies show that when people face barriers to affording their medication, health outcomes worsen.  Patients who already have health insurance, and pay health insurance premiums, should be able to afford their insulin. This life-preserving medicine must be accessible and affordable for those who need it.

That is why I was glad to see UnitedHealthcare announce on July 15, 2022 that it plans to eliminate out-of-pocket costs of insulin for its beneficiaries.  In their announcement, UnitedHealthcare highlighted how their decision is motivated by the specific health care goal of helping “reduce the burden of medical costs on consumers and encourage better medication adherence, reducing the risk of complications and expensive hospitalizations.” UnitedHealthcare’s action on this issue demonstrates that health insurers have the responsibility to ensure affordable access to medications for their enrollees. I strongly encourage you to consider taking steps to lower the cost of insulin for your member patients.

This issue is personal for me. In Georgia, over 1 million people have diabetes, which is 12 percent of the state’s adult population.  While not all diabetics use insulin, those who do use it need it to survive. Since joining the Senate, I have received more than 5,000 letters from Georgians asking me to act to lower prescription drug prices, over 600 about insulin specifically. This illustrates that high insulin costs are an issue that is specifically, and uniquely, top-of-mind for people in my state. 

For months, I have been pushing for the Senate to act and finally pass the Affordable Insulin Now Act, my legislation to cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for people on private plans and Medicare prescription drug plans. This critical piece of legislation passed the House of Representatives in April with bipartisan support, and I continue to fight to pass this provision into law in Congress. My efforts to highlight the exorbitant cost of insulin also led Sanofi, one of only three manufacturers of insulin serving the U.S., to announce that uninsured patients will pay no more than $35 per month for their life-saving medicine. 

It is clear that there is momentum behind the push to lower the cost of insulin. We need to ensure affordability for all insulin users, and we cannot afford to wait another day. Amidst rising costs and an uncertain economy, Georgians want affordable insulin now. I urge you to put people before profits, and to act right away to reduce or eliminate the out-of-pocket costs of insulin for your beneficiaries.

Sincerely,

Raphael Warnock

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