Health insurance giant Cigna and pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts are lowering the monthly cost of insulin through a new insurance plan that caps the cost of the crucial hormone at $25.
For over a million Type 1 diabetics in the United States, insulin is critical in regulating their blood sugar levels and if they don’t get it, they can die.
Cigna said diabetics they cover paid, on average, $42 a month last year for their insulin prescriptions, including co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance, according to USA Today.
The new program called the Patient Assurance Program SM will help lower costs for diabetics, a company representative told the newspaper.
“For people with diabetes, insulin can be as essential as air,” said Steve Miller, Cigna’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer. “We need to ensure these individuals feel secure in their ability to afford every fill so they don’t miss one dose, which can be dangerous for their health.”
The move comes after criticism of drug companies that they’ve been overcharging for the lifesaving hormone, and some parents have blamed the pharmas for the deaths of their diabetic children when the drug costs soared to as much as $1,000 a month, CNN reported.
The American Diabetes Association said that six million Americans depend on insulin every day and that the escalating costs have become a major burden.
USA Today reported that studies show one out of four people with diabetes who need insulin will cut back on use of the drug over costs.