Diabetics Are Feeling the Squeeze

More than a third of U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes, and the price of insulin has more than doubled in the past 5 years.

Per-person spending on insulin doubled in a recent five-year period, according to a report released Tuesday by the Health Care Cost Institute.

Individuals with type 1 diabetes spent an average of $5,705 on insulin in 2016, compared with $2,864 in 2012, according to the study. Yes, insulin prices DOUBLED in 5 years, due almost entirely to price increases at the point of sale. Inflation, for the record, is about 2% annually.

This is of special import for payers, as one third of U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a separate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population – have diabetes.

Dramatic price increases like this have the biggest impact on the uninsured and those with the high-deductible health plans currently in fashion with self-funded employers seeking shelter from skyrocketing healthcare costs. And we have seen that as out-of-pocket costs increase, especially for patients with chronic conditions, diseases often go untreated and other health issues are almost certain to follow.

Your employees should be able to follow doctor’s orders AND save money. Contact one of our pharmacy benefit savings experts to find out how.

According to the Health Care Cost Institute study, for a type I diabetic using an average amount of insulin, the price increased from $7.80 a day in 2012 to $15 a day in 2016. This after the cost of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013.

Here, it is worth noting that Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin in 1923, surrendered the patent for nothing – for free – because he thought it should be available to and affordable for everyone.

Policymakers are taking notice. In May 2018 the American Diabetes Association testified before Congress on the issue. The state of Minnesota is taking action by suing three of the world’s largest insulin manufacturers. And now, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed a bill into law that places a $100 per month cap on insulin co-pays, regardless of how much insulin a patient uses.

Payers like you (or your clients) will be expected to foot any costs over and above.

Scripta provides employees with personalized medication savings reports so they can afford to follow doctor’s orders AND save money. Contact one of our pharmacy benefit savings experts to find out how.

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Scripta™ is neither a pharmacy nor a doctor. The benefit service does not tell you what drug to take and does not participate in the drug selection process. Only your physician can determine the medications that are right for you. These alternative medications are options for less costly drugs that physicians may prescribe in place of the medications you are taking now. Scripta has reviewed your current medications only for the purpose of identifying potential cost savings for you to consider with your physician. Scripta has not analyzed the effectiveness or other therapeutic aspects of these medication alternatives. Accordingly, this report and any other forms of communication received from Scripta are not, nor should they be interpreted as, any form of treatment, drug regimen review, or provision of counseling or consultation by a prescriber, pharmacist or pharmacy. Do not stop taking your medication, change your medication, or start taking a new medication without being directed to do so by your physician and filling the prescription under the oversight of a licensed pharmacist. The alternatives set forth above may not be equivalent to your current medication, may interact adversely with your other medications, may not be indicated in light of your other conditions, may cause different or severe side effects, or may be less effective at treating your condition. Medication prices are approximate based on information provided by your pharmacy benefits manager, insurance plans, and/or employer, and may vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. Check with your insurance plan to obtain a full list of pharmacies where your prescriptions can be filled. All information herein is HIPAA protected, treated as highly confidential, and never shared with your employer.

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