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AARP AARP States North Dakota Advocacy

Older voices lead to insulin cap in ND

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On Monday, April 10 the North Dakota Legislature passed SB 2140 (sponsored by Senators Mathern and Dever; and Representatives Hanson, Pyle, McLeod, Schauer), a bill that caps out-of-pocket expenses for insulin for individuals on the state PERS health plan. The bill now heads to the Governor.

“We know our 82,000 members care about this issue* and they let our state legislators know it, too. Hundreds of them called, emailed and visited with their legislators asking them to do something about the high cost of prescription drugs,” says Josh Askvig, State Director of AARP North Dakota. “The passage of this bill shows legislators understand the importance of this issue to older adults.”

SB 2140 caps the price of a 30-day supply of insulin for state employees at $25. Co-payments for related medical supplies, including blood glucose meters, insulin pen needles and syringes, also are capped at $25 per 30 days. Only a small portion of the 58,335 people with diabetes are public employees, but the bill also directs the PERS Board to study the impacts and bring forward a bill in 2025 to apply this cap to everyone.

A bill that addressed a larger array of prescription drugs was defeated early in the session, making SB 2140 the only bill passed during this session addressing the high prescription drug costs.

“People with diabetes face insulin prices that average more than $5,000 per year, some reports show.  While ND state legislators chose not to make a wider array of drugs more affordable, we’re grateful they chose to tackle insulin costs, and now we’re calling on Governor Burgum to sign this bill because it truly will save lives,” Askvig said. “It’s an important step toward more extensive relief for people suffering and dying due to outrageous prescription drug costs.”

* AARP engaged ANR Market Research Consultants to conduct a qualitative research study among North Dakota residents 45 and older. ANR completed a total of 722 interviews in July 2020 on topics including healthcare, the economy, financial issues, independent living, long-term care, caregiving and retirement issue.

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