Legal Maximum for Monthly Insulin Cost Made Law in Colorado

Neil Mehta, Staff Writer

In Colorado, a new and groundbreaking law protects insulin users from drastically increasing costs that have restricted access to the life-sustaining drug. On Wednesday, Governor Jared Polis signed in a new state law that limits the monthly copayment for insulin.

Insulin, an essential hormone, is produced by most individuals in the pancreas, and aids in the absorption of carbohydrates into body cells. However, individuals with type-1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin, rendering them dependent on injected doses. With over one million Americans living with type-1 diabetes, and even more with type-2 diabetes that rely on the drug, insulin is a ubiquitous medical necessity.

With a “captive market” that is forced to pay for the drug, insulin prices have increased over 300% since 2002, making it increasingly difficult to afford vital daily doses. In fact, the extreme costs of the medication have led one in four insulin-dependent patients to under-medicate due to high costs.

Colorado’s new legislation attempts to lessen the financial burden on insulin-dependent residents by capping the monthly copayment for insured individuals to $100, regardless of the quantity of their monthly supply. The law, going into effect in 2020, will impact hundreds of thousands of Colorado residents living with the disease.

The law is a significant step in the effort to combat rising insulin costs, but still leaves territory uncharted. Notably, the law does not adequately address uninsured patients in Colorado, Furthermore, there are no such laws in place to protect consumers throughout the rest of the country. Regardless, the new legal protections are a significant victory for insulin-dependent individuals that creates a path for further state or federal-level legislation.