Advocates Continue Fight for Affordable Insulin in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky #insulin4all chapter is lobbying lawmakers to continue work to lower insulin prices in Kentucky.

The group met with lawmakers urging them to act on Senate Bill 23.

The legislation has been stalled but the group says Senate President Robert Stivers’ office told them the bill has been assigned to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

SB 23 would help all Kentuckians have access to affordable insulin by creating the insulin assistance program which would allow Kentuckians who do not have insurance to apply for assistance in affording the drug.

To be admitted into the program a diabetic would need to fill out a financial need form to be approved by the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy once they are approved they would be able to go to participating pharmacies and receive insulin at no cost to them. The pharmacies would also be required to provide information about any drug manufacturer patient discount programs and information on how to apply for the state medical assistance program.

An approved diabetic would be eligible for the free insulin for 90 days but would be able to apply to extend their eligibility if needed.

The House passed House Bill 12 which caps the co-pay for insulin at $100 per 30-day supply but advocates say that will only help about 20,000-30,000 due to the limited scope of the legislation.

“House Bill 12 is very restrictive, it only covers plans in the state of Kentucky not through a national program, say you are from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield they are not based in Kentucky so if you have that plan House Bill 12 will not apply to you and it will not apply to the 500,000 people the governor claims that it would reach out,” said David Johnson, a diabetic and advocate for lower insulin prices. “Senate Bill 23 would reach out to those people who would not be covered by House Bill 12 and have a far more expanding reach in the state of Kentucky.”

Johnson says it’s important to keep the cost down for people who may want to switch jobs but need to ensure they can have affordable access to insulin.

“If you are in a waiting period such as where I have been, in between jobs the federal government actually mandates a 60 day waiting grace period, depending when you started it could be upwards to 90 days so if you are diabetic and if you don’t have your insulin stockpiled per say you can’t switch jobs, you can’t take a job for a better income,” Johnson said.

Johnson says he has had to rely on donations to get insulin.

“I have been relying on donations through Twitter, through people I work with and finally after three months of applying, or trying to apply or the regulations if you will through Novo Nordisk I was actually accepted through their patient assistance program, my application was denied actually three separate occasions,” Johnson said, “It’s a very particular process and it’s really heartbreaking for some people who may not have the time or resources to put into something like that to make sure their applications will get approve.”

Johnson says on GoodRx a supply of insulin is more than is more than $500.

A hearing date for the bill has not been set yet.