HEALTH

Utah’s Insulin Savings Program available sooner than predicted

May 19, 2020, 5:49 PM | Updated: 7:02 pm
Utah insulin program...
Part of your emergency planning should include having special medication on hand in case you have to leave your home. (Graphic Getty Images, Composite Colby Walker)
(Graphic Getty Images, Composite Colby Walker)

SALT LAKE CITY — A plan allowing Utahns who buy insulin to purchase it at a greatly reduced price will be implemented far ahead of schedule.

HB 207, Insulin Access Amendments, passed by Utah lawmakers on March 10, 2020, called for Utah’s Insulin Savings Program to be in effect by January 1, 2021.

The Public Employees Health Plan (PEHP) reports the program will be available and ready for use on June 1, 2020.

Insulin Savings Program in Utah 

The PEHP is able to offer discounted rates for insulin products. Those who are able to use the program see a 60% discount from current insulin prices.

In a statement from Rep. Norm Thurston, the sponsor of HB 207, the PEHP was able to accelerate the implementation of the program and make insulin vastly more affordable for Utahns quicker.

“Our goal is to ensure that nobody ever takes less insulin than they should be taking due to cost of administrative issues,” Thurston said. “This provision is a key step in making sure that it never happens in our state.”

The cost of insulin 

In KSL NewsRadio’s in-depth report, A Costly Cure: Lowering Utah’s Prescription Drug Costs, reporters Kelli Pierce and John Wojcik revealed an underground network that exists to counter the high cost of insulin. 

KSL NewsRadio reporters discovered the network “donates and delivers excess insulin and supplies to those in need.”

The average diabetic patient spends $5,000 annually for the insulin that keeps them alive.

A significant percentage of diabetics risk blindness, kidney failure, and even death by rationing or using less insulin than they need, said Rep. Thurston

However, come June 1, 2020, any Utahn who needs insulin will be able to purchase it at a discounted price, regardless of insurance. 

“I am very appreciative of PEHP’s willingness to get this done so quickly and hope that many Utahns will get some needed relief,” Thurton said.

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Utah’s Insulin Savings Program available sooner than predicted