How Will the New Inflation Reduction Act Impact People with Diabetes?
The new act passed by the Senate has a lot of components and one of them might impact your insulin costs.
Regardless of which side of the aisle your personal interests lie, there’s a good chance that the rise in inflation and escalating healthcare costs are impacting your life and cutting into your household’s bottom line.
Recently, the Senate passed a sweeping Inflation Reduction Act that has many goals, including combating climate change, reducing the federal deficit, and helping to curb the rising costs of healthcare.
In this post, we’ll focus on the latter and how this new act might or might not impact the cost of the insulin you need to control blood sugar and manage your Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
The Insulin Cost Dilemma
First, let’s examine one of the greatest challenges for those with diabetes, that being the high cost of insulin. The reality is that the cost of insulin, a true lifesaver for millions of Americans living with diabetes, can break the bank for many families.
In fact, according to Yale University research finding, around 14% of people in the United States who use insulin experience what they call “catastrophic” levels of spending on the treatment. How is this defined? After normal housing and food expenditures are subtracted from the total income of these individuals, at least 40% of the remaining income is dedicated to covering the cost of insulin treatments. That is a huge chunk of disposable income that cannot be avoided as the drug is absolutely necessary to keep these people alive.
Medicare Beneficiaries and Insulin Costs
Baylee Bakkila, a lead researcher on the Yale University team studying the issue who is cited in a recent piece by CNBC, points out that 1 in 5 individuals on Medicare eventually reach the “catastrophic” spending level to cover their insulin costs.
When you consider that 1 out of every 3 Medicare beneficiaries in the United States has been diagnosed with diabetes and that more than 3.3 million beneficiaries require insulin to manage their diabetes, it’s clear that the problem is a significant one.
Will The Inflation Reduction Act Help?
This is the million-dollar question, and the good news is that for many individuals on Medicare the new act will significantly lower the cost of insulin.
The new legislation limits the maximum amount Medicare beneficiaries pay for life-saving insulin at $35 per month. Additionally, it caps the total out-of-pocket costs seniors pay for prescription drugs in general at $2000 per year.
So, if you’re on Medicare and require insulin to manage your diabetes, this new legislation will probably make things a whole lot easier on you financially.
Who Doesn’t the Inflation Reduction Act Help?
The legislation and the insulin cost reductions in it are reserved solely for Medicare beneficiaries. While these individuals do make up a large percentage of insulin users, they are far from the only people in the United States with diabetes who are required to administer insulin by syringe, pen, or insulin pump.
Americans who are privately insured or uninsured are excluded from the new legislation’s benefits. According to Bakkila, this population actually tends to spend the most for insulin, with insured individuals often having to cover high deductibles before enjoying any cost reductions.
The bill originally sought to cap the price of insulin at $35 dollars for these individuals as well as those covered by Medicare. However, this was removed from the legislation to secure bi-partisan support.
How Can I Lower My Diabetic Supplies Costs?
While insulin costs are, to a great degree, out of your control, particularly if you do not qualify for the new price caps as a Medicare beneficiary, there are ways to lower your overall diabetes management expenses.