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Another Minnesota-based insurer will cap insulin prices

The move comes as officials continue to debate how to address rising insulin costs.

Another Minnesota-based insurer is capping insulin prices for its patients as the debate around the drug rolls on among lawmakers.

UCare announced Tuesday that the final insurance rates it has filed for 2020 include a cap on insulin prices so individuals and family member who get their insurance through MNSure will pay no more than $25 per month for the life-saving drug.

It comes after another Minnesota insurer, Medica, announced the same $25 cap on insulin prices at the same rate.

“When we designed our 2020 Individual and Family plans, we gave considerable attention to helping our members with diabetes afford insulin,” said Mark Traynor, UCare president and CEO.

UCare is a nonprofit health plan covering individuals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The company also focuses on promoting a healthy lifestyle of its diabetes patients, including a monthly budget for healthy food at participating stores and community health education programs.

Struggle continues to pass insulin legislation

Attempts to combat rising insulin prices statewide continue to be a contentious issue. The Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act would have help individuals afford the drug, but it failed to pass at the end of last session due to an apparent clerical error.

Lawmakers announced earlier this summer that bipartisan work was being done to get a deal ready in the event of a special session. But Democrats and Republicans differed on where funding should come from for emergency insulin access, and Gov Tim Walz emphasized that a deal had not yet been struck.

Just this week, Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) asked Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) at a Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee meeting to hold a hearing on insulin funding. But Benson said not enough work had been done to come together formally.

Jensen argued that a hearing would help clarify what the Minnesota Department of Human Service’s role might be in these conversations as the department undergoes a major transition. He also said a hearing would be a good time to bring in stakeholders to the conversation.

“I was thinking of a hearing that would do the work of stakeholders involvement and having maybe DHS. Questions have come up, whether or not DHS in its present state is perhaps ideally positioned in its present state to be able to handle a role in this,” Jensen said. 

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