Trenton – Acting to protect diabetes patients from extensive medical costs, the Senate today approved a bill sponsored by Senators Joseph Vitale and Nellie Pou and Senate President Steve Sweeney that would require health insurers to limit copayments for insulin.
The bill, S-526, would require health benefits plans to provide coverage for insulin for the treatment of diabetes with a copayment or coinsurance limited to $50 per 30-day supply, and no deductible. The bill would be applicable to commercial health insurers, the New Jersey Individual Health Coverage and Small Employer Health Benefits programs, the State Health Benefits Plan, and the School Employees Health Benefits Plan.
“People with diabetes often are faced with overwhelming prescription costs that make access to insulin nearly impossible,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex), Chair of the Senate Health Committee. “This bill will reduce the stress of medical fees and help make treatment more accessible to those who need it most.”
“Diabetes is the seventh most common cause of death in the United States, despite being an illness that is largely manageable with the proper medication,” said Senator Pou (D- Passaic/Bergen). “This legislation will ensure inflated insulin costs are not discouraging our residents from getting the medication they need to survive.”
“Major price spikes have placed people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in compromised positions,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Some give up insulin altogether, while others ration their medication until they are able to afford the next prescription. No one should ever be put in that position. This legislation will help ensure every New Jerseyan who needs insulin can afford it.”
In May 2019, Colorado became the first state to cap insulin co-pays. That law and the New Jersey bill do not limit what insulin manufacturers can charge insurance companies; it is expected that insurance companies will pay the difference.
The bill has passed the Senate by a vote of 39-0.