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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

Affordable access to insulin continues to be an issue making headlines. It seems every day we see a new article or editorial from politicians, doctors, or advocacy groups making the case for their preferred solution to this very real and serious problem that impacts countless Minnesotans.

Instead of pointing the finger at one another or using the insulin issue as a political cudgel, we should be focusing on real and available solutions.

That’s why I wanted to take the time this week to share with you several options available for those in need.

Just last week, Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced that they will offer insulin coverage to thousands of members with a $0 co-pay beginning on January 1, 2020.

In a news release, Blue Cross and Blue Shield specified that last week’s announcement applies to Tier 1 and Tier 2 insulin options as a covered benefit for plans offered to individuals and families (both on and off MNsure), small employers, and most large employers.

Earlier this month, Medica announced that starting next year, people enrolled in one of their health plans through either the individual market or through employer coverage would have their out-of-pocket costs for insulin capped at $25 for a month's supply. The cap would apply before the deductible as well, so people who haven't reached their deductible will still pay just $25.

Medica also announced that this new cap will not increase premiums; instead, the insurer is considering this as an investment in its customers.

UCare is following Medica’s lead as they also announced they are capping insulin costs at $25. There is some expectation that the remaining insurers will follow suit, but even if they don't, diabetics and their families will have two options for insurance coverage that will drastically reduce the cost of their care.

In addition to the encouraging developments from UCare, Medica, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, I recommend visiting the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council’s website (NDVLC) or other diabetes community advocates to learn more about additional options. You can visit NDVLC’s webpage that shares tips on how to reduce out-of-pocket insulin costs here.

Furthermore, lower-cost insulin is generally available at local retail pharmacies through programs like GoodRx, InsideRx, and Blink Health.

Finally, I encourage folks to get in touch with their diabetes care team if they have any further questions or concerns regarding insulin accessibility. Providers may be able to help bridge short-term insulin gaps.

Please continue to reach out to me if you have any additional questions regarding insulin availability. As you can see there are several options available for folks and I am happy to help you or someone you know get access to the proper resources.

I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4229 or via email at rep.glenn.gruenhagen@house.mn.

Thanks and have a great day,

Glenn

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