Medica to cap out of pocket costs for insulin

Injecting insulin
Eugenia Delgado shows the type of syringe she uses to inject insulin. Delgado is a diabetic and is among the many Minnesota latinos with a high prevalence of health-related issues. She knows her kids are at a higher risk for developing the disease, so she tries to keep them healthy by preparing the majority of their meals and making sure they get exercise.
Photo for MPR by Alex Kolyer

Health insurer Medica announced Tuesday it will introduce a cap on the price its Minnesota customers will have to pay for insulin.

The company says its new policy will cover all types of insulin. Officials also note that none of Medica's fully insured commercial groups headquartered in Minnesota nor its individual-market customers here will have to pay more than $25 for a 30-day supply of the drug.

Medica says it will not increase health insurance premiums to pay for the enhanced benefit.

President and CEO John Naylor said the move will provide more affordable access to insulin.

"This could save individuals hundreds of dollars per month. The cost of insulin depends on the prescription and dosage and benefit design but for a number of folks this will amount to thousands of dollars in savings per year," he said.

The American Diabetes Association says the average price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013.

Naylor says the cap is a response to those soaring prices.

"This is really something that we look at as a financial a life-line to some of our members," said Naylor. "The cost of their medication and the amount they spend as part of their take-home pay on their drugs is significant and we wanted to do our part in helping them be able to live healthier lives and be more financially stable."

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