ST. PAUL — Another Minnesota health insurer is cutting the cost of insulin for its customers.
Blue Cross Blue Shield announced Thursday, Aug. 22, insulin would be available to thousands of members at no charge starting Jan. 1. The change affects members who are fully insured with individual and employer plans.
“Our first responsibility is to do what we can to improve the health and financial stability of our members,” said Dr. Craig Samitt, CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “We felt a responsibility to address the skyrocketing cost of insulin with the options we have available.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield did not adjust its premium rates for 2020 because of this change.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is the third Minnesota insurance company to cut insulin costs for customers. Earlier this month, Medica and UCare announced they would cap monthly insulin costs at $25 a month for customers.
The price guarantees come as state lawmakers continue to debate the best way to ensure every diabetic who relies on insulin to survive has access to the medicine. Several Minnesotans have died while rationing their insulin because the cost of the drug has skyrocketed about 300% in the last decade.
Democrats have pushed for a new fee on drugmakers to fund an emergency insulin program. They want to raise about $10 million a year to help low income diabetics afford their medicine.
Republicans have been supportive of an emergency program, but not a new fee on drug makers to cover the costs. They’ve also favored other changes to make medicine like insulin more affordable.