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Iowa bill would cap insulin prices at $75 a month



Des Moines, Iowa – For many of the over 250,000 Iowans with diabetes, the cost of insulin may soon drop significantly.

“What is the one thing in your life that you absolutely cannot live without? For me, it’s insulin. Without it, I’m a dying woman,” says Theresa Hildreth of Rockwell City, who has Type 1 diabetes. Hildreth says medical costs for diabetics are very high. “An average diabetic has more than almost $14,000 per year in costs associated with their disease.”

Dubuque County Republican state senator Carrie Koelker says she wants to reduce that expense. She has proposed legislation that would cap monthly premiums for Iowans enrolled in state-regulated insurance programs at $75.

Around 500,000 Iowans may be impacted by the law, according to Paige Yontz of the AARP of Iowa. “These are individuals that perhaps on a state-funded or a state-covered plan. So, they might work for the state,” Yontz said.

Yontz says the legislation is needed as Iowa’s population ages. “Diabetes is not getting any less prevalent in Iowa. It’s certainly growing, and as our population continues to age we’re likely to see more people continue to receive those diagnoses,” Yontz said.

According to Yontz, those who are unable to pay for their insulin may have to ration it. “When someone rations their doses, it has a direct impact on their long-term health. And when you have an impact on things like diabetic foot pain, diabetic eyes, there are a lot of different health implications of failing to comply with this insulin regimen,” Yontz said.

Although she still has concerns, Democratic state senator Sarah Trone Garriott of West Des Moines believes the bill is a positive step. “I am interested to learn more about are there other consumers, other Iowans who might not be positively impacted by this bill. you know, are there folks who are underinsured, not insured? Who are those folks that are needing help?” Trone Garriott said.

Koelker claims that even if this new bill may not be ideal, it will still benefit people. She has spent the last six years trying to get insulin price caps passed.

After passing out of committee last week, the bill is now up for discussion on the Senate floor.

All three of the major manufacturers provide various programs designed to lower the cost of insulin if you are having financial difficulties, regardless of your insurance or income. Further details are available here. The Inflation Reduction Act restricts the monthly cost for Medicare beneficiaries to $35.

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