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The Rising Cost of Insulin - How Medicaid Expansion Offers Relief


In recent times, there has been an increase in the price of medication for diabetes. Insulin, specifically has seen a tremendous rise in cost, to the point where people have to ration their insulin because they cannot afford to buy any more. This can lead to devastating health consequences and complications with diabetes. Medicaid expansion has helped to make insulin more affordable and available for those who need it. In states that have adopted Medicaid expansion, those with diabetes, especially those with low income, are more likely to be able to afford their diabetes medication. A study released in 2018 showed that the states who expanded Medicaid in 2014-2015 found a 40% increase in filled insulin prescriptions. This indicates that medication is more affordable when a greater number of the population has insurance covered by Medicaid. Additionally, this indicates that the out of pocket cost for diabetes medication decreases through Medicaid. The number of filled prescriptions is expected to increase as more people are covered by Medicaid.

Making diabetes medication more affordable can have long lasting economic impacts to states as well. Diabetes medication is expensive but by making medication more affordable, more people will adhere to their prescriptions. This will reduce adverse health outcomes and reduce the financial burden of diabetes on health care. In 2017, the CDC released a study that claimed those who were treated for diabetes caused an approximate $6300 reduction in overall health care cost for their state. As Florida currently does not have Medicaid expansion, the state is not able to see these financial and health benefits that come with making insulin and other diabetes medication more affordable.

Expanding Medicaid in Florida can reduce the cost of insulin and other diabetes medications. It can reduce the financial burden of diabetes and if the reduction to out of pocket costs for insulin proposed by the Trump Administration is extended to benefit Medicaid recipients the economic impact could be even bigger.



References:

Bartolone P. (2018) Medicaid Expansion Making Diabetes Meds More Accessible to Poor, Study Shows. The Washington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/medicaid-expansion-making-diabetes-meds-more-accessible-to-poor-study-shows/2018/08/06/b8a1316c-99bb-11e8-a8d8-9b4c13286d6b_story.html

Myerson R, Lu T, Tonnu-Mihara I, and Huang E S. (2019). Medicaid Eligibility Expansions May Address Gaps in Access to Diabetes Medications. Health Affairs. 37(8).

President Trump Announces Lower Out of Pocket Insulin Costs for Medicare’s Seniors. (2020). Retrieved from: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/president-trump-announces-lower-out-pocket-insulin-costs-medicares-seniors

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