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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota latest to slash patient insulin costs

The insurer is the latest provider to tackle the rising cost of insulin.

Another Minnesota insurer is looking to fight rising insulin prices, this time by eliminating patient costs completely.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota announced Thursday it would cut co-pays for insulin for patients under “fully insured” plans starting January of next year. This includes patients on the MNSure program.

“Our first responsibility is to do what we can to improve the health and financial stability of our members,” said Craig Samitt, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, in a statement. "We felt a responsibility to address the skyrocketing cost of insulin with the options we have available. Hopefully our action will provide some measure of financial relief to many of our members who live with diabetes."

Blue Cross follows two other Minnesota-based insurance providers in limiting the cost of the life-saving drugs. Medica and UCare both announced $25 caps on patient insulin costs earlier this summer.

These initiatives come as lawmakers continue to grapple with how to reduce insulin prices for Minnesotans.

Unable to pass the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act last legislative session, lawmakers said earlier this summer that they would continue to work on policies via a special session.

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And earlier this month, Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) urged Sen. Michelle Benson at a Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee meeting to hold a hearing on insulin funding. Benson said not enough work has been done to merit a hearing.

Jensen argued lawmakers first need to clarify what the role of the Minnesota Department of Human Services would be in drafting policy given the department’s current state of transition.

“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 at the meeting. 

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