Government

Colorado becomes first state in nation to cap price of insulin

But you see, they are not capping the price of insulin at all. They are capping co-pays.

That headline is representative of how we talk and think about health care costs – we aren’t sure what we are talking about. Listen to many politicians and you will think health insurance is health care and that insurance premiums are health care costs. That’s not true.

In fact the Colorado legislation is more publicity that serious effort to manage costs. Few people have co-pays near $100, it doesn’t apply effectively to high deductible plans. Actually it only applies to insurance policies in the private market. That leaves out Medicare and most employer plans which are self-insured and excluded from state insurance laws.

These actions are more stunts than effective cost management and they hamper serious efforts.

Diabetics in Colorado who use insulin to control their blood sugar levels won’t pay more than $100 per month for the drug starting in January thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday.

Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, told The Denver Post earlier this year that the projections he saw showed the price of health care plans increasing by “a couple of cents, per person, per month.”

Source: Colorado becomes first state in nation to cap price of insulin

That “increasing by a couple of cents, per person, per month.” quote tells us something; few people will benefit from this gimmick.

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1 reply »

  1. The change is intended to change the cost sharing from point of purchase to point of enrollment, from copay/deductibles/coinsurance to those who use insulin to increasing the premium costs for all who have insurance subject to the mandate.

    The state would do better to focus on those who don’t have/can’t afford health insurance instead of shifting the costs among those covered by insurance. but, no one should be surprised. It is similar to the concept/method deployed by federal Health Care Reform when it comes to “preventive services”, “women’s health”, etc. The difference here is that, as you have pointed out time after time after time, people have a prioritization challenge when it comes to health care – too many think it a right, that someone else should pay and when no one else is able to pay, well, I’ll make decisions that are probably not in my long term best interest (such as skimping on/stretching Rx).

    See: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/50-states/2019/03/21/diabetes-insulin-costs-diabetics-drug-prices-increase/3196757002/

    Remember that in Ohio, then-Governor Kasich expanded Medicaid under Health Reform. So, it is not clear to me why this individual lacked Medicaid coverage during her period of unemployment, and, as a nurse herself, why she did not appreciate the risks the article suggests she intentionally took.

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