Monthly $35 insulin cap made permanent by WA Legislature

Mar 31, 2023, 7:26 AM | Updated: 12:06 pm


This Wednesday, March 1, 2023 photo shows a vial of Eli Lilly's Humalog insulin in New York. Eli Lilly will cut prices for some older insulins later this year and immediately give more patients access to a cap on costs they pay to fill prescriptions. The moves announced March 1, 2023 promise critical relief to some people with diabetes who can face annual costs of more than $1,000 for insulin they need in order to live. Lilly’s changes also come as lawmakers and patient advocates pressure drugmakers to do something about soaring prices. (AP Photo/Pablo Salinas)

(AP Photo/Pablo Salinas)

People with diabetes in Washington state can rest assured the cost of their life-saving insulin will continue to be capped at $35 a month.

Governor Jay Inslee signed Thursday SB 5729, which permanently extends the temporary cap on out-of-pocket costs for insulin past the Jan. 1, 2024 expiration date.

Monthly $35 insulin cap for Washingtonians among bills signed into law Friday

Senator Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) sponsored the temporary bill in 2022 in hopes Congress would pass legislation controlling insulin costs at a federal level as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

But, the cap was rejected by most Republicans in the U.S. Senate, so the legislation was dropped. Only people on Medicare are protected by the $35 limit nationwide.

“This legislation isn’t a perfect solution,” says Sen. Kaiser. “I had hoped that Congress would take action to ensure insulin is affordable for all Americans. But by keeping costs down for people with diabetes, this price cap is going to save lives in Washington.”

The Journal of the American Medical Association studied insulin prices in 2020 and found between the years of 2007 to 2018, they went up 262% — a much steeper climb than the average price increase for other medications, at 159%.

The publication also found when insulin costs go up, 15% to 25% of people with diabetes admitted to rationing their medication because they couldn’t afford it.

The American Diabetes Association says since 2019, 22 states have passed laws limiting out-of-pocket costs for insulin.

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Monthly $35 insulin cap made permanent by WA Legislature