Colorado has become the first state in the United States to pass legislation to limit the out of pocket price of insulin sold in their state. Starting in January 2020, the law states that those paying co-payments for the lifesaving drug under private insurance plans will only have to pay up to $100 for a 30-day supply. This is a substantial cut from the 2016 national average of a person with type 1 diabetes paying annual insulin costs of $5,705, or $475.41 a month— which is double the national average from 2012.
While signing the bill into law Governor Jared Polis said, “today we will finally declare that the days of insulin price-gouging are over in Colorado,” as reported by the local Denver CBS affiliate. He later described how some residents were paying as much as $600-$900 a month for their prescriptions to be refilled.
The reduction in costs will be welcome to those who get their insulin through private insurance. According to the Colorado Health Institute, “the state’s insurance rate is 93.5 percent, essentially unchanged from the all-time high of 93.3 percent set in 2015.“ This means that the legislation going into effect next year will cover the vast majority of Colorado citizens, which will hopefully begin to set a precedent for other states to follow.
Since the legislation only affects the out of pocket price of insulin, covered by private insurance, unfortunately those who are uninsured will not be covered by the new law, exemplifying a need for a more equal healthcare system where medically necessary drugs like insulin don’t get caught up in politics or drug company price gouging.
While this legislation doesn’t fully address the main issue at large, which is everyone should have access to healthcare and not get priced out from medicine that they need, it does go a long way in the state of Colorado by guaranteeing that the majority of those in Colorado will be affected by the law, and will hopefully spread to other states.