House panel approves bill to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - A Kentucky House committee approved a bill to cap out-of-pocket costs that many Kentuckians with diabetes pay for insulin.

House Bill 12 cleared the House Health and Family Services Thursday without opposition. It goes to the full House next.

The bill would limit out-of-pocket costs to $100 per prescription for a 30-day insulin supply. That cap would apply only to people with commercial health insurance plans.

"Prescription drugs don't work if you can't afford them. That's the bottom line," Charlotte Whittaker with AARP Kentucky told sister station WKYT.

The push to provide relief for Kentuckians struggling to afford insulin is supported by Gov. Andy Beshear. He mentioned the issue in his State of the Commonwealth speech last month.

"About one out of every four healthcare dollars is spent on diabetes, so you can see the influence it has on our economy," said Rep. Danny Bentley (R).

One vial of insulin usually costs about $300, meaning some people spend more than $1,000 for a month's supply.

"Kentuckians with diabetes are sometimes forced to choose between insulin and rent or insulin and the electric bill," said Bentley.

Some lawmakers worry the price cap will cause an increase in insurance prices. Rep. Danny Booker said the price difference would be about six cents to 24 cents per prescription.