Thousands of Virginians with diabetes will no longer have to worry about paying excessively high payments for life-saving insulin starting this week.
A new law that caps monthly insulin co-payments at $50 in Virginia is planned to take effect this Friday, Jan. 1, after being passed by the General Assembly during the 2020 spring session and subsequently signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam.
An estimated 837,000 Virginians suffer from diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
The price of insulin has skyrocketed over the last decade nationwide as drug manufacturers have steadily increased the cost. Many Americans have reported rationing their insulin because they cannot afford their high co-pays.
Virginia is one of seven states – Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Utah, Washington and West Virginia – that have enacted legislation capping insulin prices.
The bill to cap insulin co-payments in Virginia was sponsored by Manassas-area state Del. Lee Carter, D-50th, and supported by the American Association of Retired Persons, the Medical Society of Virginia and the American Diabetes Association.
Carter said in an interview on Tuesday that, while it is difficult to say exactly how many Virginians will be impacted, he believes that tens of thousands of diabetic Virginians will pay less for their insulin as result of the insulin cap.
“One in 10 Virginians needs insulin products to manage their health. Now, they can rest assured that their insurance companies won’t price gouge them on copays,” Carter said.
Carter noted that the new law will be especially helpful to diabetic seniors who rely on Medicare who end up in the Medicare coverage gap, known as the “donut hole,” where they’re responsible for a greater share of the drugs’ costs.
“The people that are primarily going to be helped by this are seniors who were having a problem with the Medicare ‘donut hole,’” Carter said. “... It’ll also help out anyone who is on private insurance who needs insulin.”