State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21), ranking member of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, joined with fellow committee leaders Thursday, Feb. 13, to announce a proposal to cap what patients pay for insulin.

Approximately 355,000 people in Connecticut have diabetes and nearly triple that number have pre-diabetes high blood glucose levels that put them at risk. An estimated 18,000 people in Connecticut are diagnosed with diabetes annually.

Kelly said a comprehensive approach addressing health care cost drivers is imperative, and capping co-pays on insulin is one way to help people afford a drug that is needed for every day survival.

The Insurance Committee is offering a proposal to cap co-pays on insulin and insulin supplies. The initial proposal would require that any fully insured plan cover insulin at $50 per month and insulin supplies like diabetic test strips, lancets and lancing devices, and syringes at $100 per month. The committee is also looking at ways to adopt “Kevin’s Law,” a national policy to dispense insulin and insulin supplies to patients without a prescription on an emergency basis.

“The Insurance Committee is not proposing to tax consumers or insulin manufacturers and distributors,” said Kelly. “Any tax on insulin at any level would ultimately get passed on to consumers, driving up costs and making it even harder for people to afford this life saving drug.

“Rather, the committee is focused on capping co-pays for insulin and helping people access insulin in emergency situations,” added Kelly. “We want to work with all stakeholders to make this legislation an effective way to help people afford and access care.”

Kelly said insulin prices have skyrocketed in recent years, and the costs, even for patients with insurance, can be insurmountable.

“Going without is simply not an option ... it’s a life or death decision,” said Kelly. “The complications that result from not using the proper amount of insulin are life-threatening and costly both from a health and financial perspective and lead to further health complications. Increasing access to insulin will not only reduce medical costs in both the short and long term, it will save lives.”