Illinois became one of the first states to limit the out-of-pocket price of insulin through a law that took effect January 1.
The cost will be limited to $100 for a 30-day supply, regardless of how much insulin is needed to fill a patient’s prescription.
The new law applies to state-regulated commercial insurance plans but not the federally regulated plans.
An estimated 1.3 million Illinois residents have diabetes and rely on insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels. As insulin prices have soared, some people with diabetes who rely on the medication to regulate levels of glucose in their blood and prevent life-threatening complications have been forced to turn to lower-quality products or to ration their supply. That can have dire consequences.
The Illinois legislation received bi-partisan support when it passed in the Illinois General Assembly during the 2019 fall veto session, despite opposition from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
State representative Will Guzzardi of Chicago, who sponsored the insulin price cap legislation in the House, said the law is the first step toward “more far-reaching reforms” related to pharmaceutical prices.
The new law also calls for a trio of state agencies to probe the factors that have led to insulin price surges and to issue a public “insulin pricing report” with policy recommendations that address how to prevent overpricing in the future.