Bipartisan effort launches to cap co-pays for supplies, equipment to treat diabetes

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 8:01 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Legislators announced a bipartisan effort Tuesday to put a cap on diabetes drugs and supplies. The goal: To make them more affordable.

This all began with a pilgrimage from west Virginia to Canada in 2019.

It was a four-and-a-half-hour journey from Morgantown to Niagara Falls Canada in search of affordable insulin. Now, local representatives are teaming up to launch a new effort to lessen the burden for families in need of equipment and non-insulin drugs to treat diabetes.

Delegate Barbara Fleischauer of Monongalia County helped organize that 300 mile journey in 2019.

“This bill that we will be introducing does a couple of things, one, it creates a copay limit for equipment and supplies that are used by diabetics. Two, it would lower the copay for unsure to $25,” Fleischauer.

Alan Hawkins a resident of Morgantown was diagnosed with diabetes since he was 10 years old and uses an insulin pump that costs him over $5,000.

“This pump has helped me beyond compare. I cannot imagine being here without it especially at 73,” said Hawkins.

Last year, the legislature passed capped co-pays for insulin at $100 per month in plans covered by West Virginia law.

“I have lived with diabetes for 35 years I was diagnosed at age 11 and was taken off my parents insurance at 24 years old, and since then I have paid upwards of $250,000 for a combination of insulin, supplies, and insurance over the years,” said Adrian Olmsted.

Republican Delegate Matt Rohrbach of Cabell County who is also is a physician is sponsoring this new bill.

““We lead the nation in the rate of diabetes, any study you look at, we’re always in the top 5, it’s unfortunate but that’s where we’re at,” said Rohrbach.

The American Diabetes Association says Connecticut was the first to enact this type of legislation last year and looks forward to supporting this effort in West Virginia.

Copyright 2021 WDTV. All rights reserved.