OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A financial burden is lifted. Some Medicare recipients are now paying less for insulin thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed last year.
The cost is saving people hundreds of dollars, including Julie Cogley from Overland Park.
“It’s a life-changer for me,” she said.
Cogley is one of nearly 38,000,000 Americans with diabetes. She was diagnosed three years ago and the possibility of spending $700 on insulin weighed on her.
Fortunately, her doctors provided her with free samples to get by.
“I also had two other name brand medications. When I hit the donut hole, I was going to have to pay $2,100 a month for the remaining six months of the year,” she said.
The donut hole she’s referring to relates to Medicare. Most Medicare drug plans have a coverage gap (donut hole), meaning there’s a temporary limit on what the drug plan will cover for drugs, according to medicare.gov.
Not everyone will enter the coverage gap. The coverage gap begins after you and your drug plan have spent a certain amount for covered drugs. Once you and your plan have spent $4,660 on covered drugs in 2023, you’re in the coverage gap. This amount may change each year.
But that all changed when the Inflation Reduction Act took effect for Part D Medicare recipients January 1. Medicare Part B enrollees will also be able to get insulin for $35 starting July 1.
“I literally cried the day that I heard that announcement because I just thought, ‘Oh, thank God. That’s one less thing I have to worry about on a regular basis,” Cogley said.
“People shouldn’t have to decide between putting food on the table or getting the medications that they need,” added Congresswoman Sharice Davids, a Democrat representing Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. She’s pushed for lower insulin costs since being sworn into office in 2019.
Davids believes the $35 cap should extend beyond Medicare recipients.
“It’s not just one group of people being impacted by this. It’s seniors, young people, parents,” she said.
Last week, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced it would lower insulin by 70% and cap what patients pay out-of-pocket at $35.
Cogley said it’s a step in the right direction.
“This $35 thing is what the inventor meant so the average person would be able to have a life-saving medication,” Cogley said.
Her advice for others still paying top dollar for insulin is to utilize resources in the community like nonprofits and use their voice.
“Ask for help if you need it. Let your legislators know what your issues are.”