Senators Stabenow and Peters Introduce New Legislation to Cap Price of Insulin, Lowering Health Care Costs for Michiganders

Over 900,000 people in Michigan have diabetes; insulin prices have tripled in the last decade

Thursday, February 24, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters introduced new legislation with U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) to lower the cost of insulin and save Michigan patients money. The Affordable Insulin Now Act will require insurers to cap patient out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month. At current insulin costs, people with diabetes could pay more than $2,300 per month for insulin. 


“Too many folks have to make critical choices every day— paying for their life-saving medication, buying groceries, or paying their heating bill,” said Senator Stabenow. “For people with diabetes, these choices can be deadly. Capping out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month will save lives and help people in Michigan breathe easier. It’s time to pass this legislation as soon as possible.”


“Nobody should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying their bills or affording medications such as insulin,” said Senator Peters. “I am proud to support this bill that will cap the cost of insulin—and I’ll continue fighting to lower prescription drug costs across the board for families in our state and across the country.”


“Thank you, Senator Stabenow, for raising awareness about the importance of affordable insulin. As a dietitian and diabetes educator, I know diabetes already requires a major investment of time and effort to manage,” said Shirley Kadoura, diabetes educator from Ann Arbor. “People cannot be expected to keep choosing between their basic needs like food or their insulin that protects their eyesight and kidney function.”


“The cost of insulin is outrageous,” said Shari Froelich, nurse practitioner from Alpena. “My daughter was diagnosed at age 44 with type 1 diabetes and lost her insurance after a year from her diagnosis. She was aware of the problems that could ensue without being on insulin, but she also didn’t have any means of buying what she needed. She now knows the full devastation of what unchecked diabetes can do, because her life was very tenuous for several days.”


The Affordable Insulin Now Act would cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin to $35 a month for private health plans, traditional Medicare, and Medicare Advantage. For commercial plans, the cap applies to one of each dosage form (ie. vial, pump, inhaler) of each different type of insulin (rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, long-acting, ultra-long-acting, and premixed). For Medicare plans, this applies to all covered insulin products, and copays are capped at $35 for all preferred and non-preferred products included on plan formularies.


According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 912,794 people in Michigan have been diagnosed with diabetes. In the United States, insulin prices have tripled over the last decade. Insulin costs on average about 800% more in the United States than in other developed countries.


Diabetes is in the top ten most common chronic conditions in the U.S. (and 7th leading cause of death)— and Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children. Insulin is the most common treatment for Type 1 diabetes and can be used for Type 2 as well depending on the patient.