THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: UnitedHealthcare gives 20-year guarantee to boy’s insulin coverage after Inquirer article

By Sarah Gantz

Liz Parlett Butcher opened her mailbox earlier this week to find a letter she never thought she’d lay eyes on.

UnitedHealthcare, which manages the family’s Medicaid plan, wrote to say that Butcher’s 10-year-old son Shane was approved for his current brands of insulin for the next 20 years.

Insurance companies commonly switch up which brand of medication is considered their preferred option. Before the plan will pay for a more expensive brand, patients must prove the lower-cost option doesn’t work for them.

A July story in the Philadelphia Inquirer chronicled the Butchers’ experience with this system — which included a scary episode of dangerously low blood sugar levels when Shane, who has type 1 diabetes, was switched to a different brand of long-acting insulin.

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Americans Rationing Insulin As Prices Skyrocket

26-year-old Alec Smith couldn’t afford the $1,300 a month insulin he needed to control his diabetes, so he tried rationing it — and died. His mother is now speaking out, telling NBC News she lost her son “because of pharmaceutical greed.”

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KCTVNEWS5: Kansas City college student describes the copay that almost killed her

By Angie Ricono

The price of insulin has skyrocketed, and what some diabetics do to get the medicine they need is simply heartbreaking and awful.

“This is not something that’s negotiable. It’s not something I’m using for fun. It’s not something I can choose whether or not to use, I have to use it. It is imperative to my life. If I don’t have it, I die. I don’t,”

Hattie Saltzman is 22 years old. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while she was in high school. She is vocal about how she survived last year when her copay jumped to $550.

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MEDICAL PRESS: ncreasing cost of insulin has serious health consequences

By Staff, Medical Press

The increasing cost of insulin is potentially exposing those with diabetes to serious health consequences, according to an American Diabetes Association statement published in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

Noting that the average list price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, William T. Cefalu, M.D., from the American Diabetes Association in Arlington, Va., and colleagues from the Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group discuss the affordability of insulin for people with diabetes. Individuals with diabetes may be forced to choose between purchasing medications or other necessities, exposing them to serious health consequences.

According to the statement, providers, pharmacies, and health plans should discuss the cost of insulin preparations with diabetes patients to help them understand the financial implications of the preparations. The lowest-priced insulin required to effectively and safely achieve treatment goals should be prescribed; in appropriately selected patients, this may include human insulin. Uninsured patients should have access to high-quality, low-cost insulin; for insured people, cost-sharing should be based on the lowest price available. Health plans should ensure that patients with diabetes can access insulin without undue administrative burden or excessive cost.

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WCVB5: Mom Fighting to Save Daughter: Big Pharma Can’t Hold You Hostage

By Staff, WCVB5

Her daughter’s lifesaving medication used to be affordable, just $50 for a three-month supply. Today, it costs $1300. After one of her recent pharmacy trips, Doreen Rudolph took to Twitter to voice her frustration, tweeting this: “I just bought two vials of insulin for my daughter cost me 524 dollars with a discount card. All I could buy. I left the pharmacy and sat in my car and cried.” It went viral as thousands of Americans saw their own desperation reflected in Rudolph’s story. Soledad O’Brien sits down with her to discuss the struggle of a parent whose child’s life is held hostage by big pharma.

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ALLIGATOR: UF holds forum on insulin prices

By Dennis Johnson

Sydney Look was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 16 years old. The condition causes her pancreas to produce little to no insulin, depriving her of the hormone that regulates her blood glucose levels.

“Diabetes is a 24/7 disease,” Look, 23, said. “I often wake up in the middle of the night to a high or a low, and that affects my sleep hygiene and how I do in school the next day.”

The medical student shared how the disease and its costs affect her life at the town hall on the high cost of insulin prescriptions at the Reitz Union on Tuesday night. The meeting was organized by Right Care Alliance of Gainesville, which Look is a member of, and UF’s Department of Pediatric Endocrinology.

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YAHOO LIFESTYLE: Mother shares the outrageous cost of insulin for her daughter

By Sabrina Rojas Weiss

The problem arose when Doreen Rudolph’s daughter, Nicole, turned 26 last year. The grad school student was no longer covered under her parents’ insurance, which had been able to help them pay for the insulin she’s needed since she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 12. The insurance Nicole could afford for herself left her paying $1,310.87 for a 90-day supply, according to the GoFundMe page Doreen set up. This week, the reality of paying this much to keep her daughter alive made her break down in tears.

“I just bought 2 vials of insulin for my daughter cost me $524,” Rudolph wrote on Twitter. “With a discount card. All I could buy. I left the pharmacy and sat in my car and cried. I would never tell her this. I’ll tell her I was able to get from work because she knows I don’t have $.I have love and worry 24/7.”

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A SWEET LIFE: Why is Insulin So Expensive in America?

By Gail DeVore

I was stuck for many years pushing paperwork in a miserable job that I hated. Why did I stay? Because I needed insurance to afford diabetes test strips, a glucose meter, an insulin pump, all the supplies to make it infuse insulin into my body, and insulin. The only insurance option for me with a pre-existing condition was to join a group plan through an employer. So, there I was, somewhat stuck, definitely underpaid, and absolutely miserable. Just to afford to stay alive. That was not all that long ago.

When I was diagnosed with Type1 diabetes in 1972, each bottle of insulin cost $1.49. One dollar and forty-nine cents. I recently found an ad from 1972 with that very price advertised. We didn’t need a prescription. We just needed to show up at the pharmacy and purchase it. By the time I graduated from college a few years later, insulin was still affordable at about $20 a bottle. Over the next few years, the price climbed to $50, then $75, then $80. Insurance wasn’t exactly paying a lot toward covering it, but that didn’t matter – I was able to afford the bill at the pharmacy window. While it was expensive and took a big chunk out of my monthly budget, I was able to afford it… even with a lousy job I hated.

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HEALTHLINE: The High Cost of ‘Insurance Gaps’ If you Have Diabetes

By Ginger Vieira

Researchers say 1 in 4 people with type 1 diabetes go at least 30 days without health coverage. That gap can be damaging financially and physically.

Living well with type 1 diabetes requires a great deal more than a healthy diet and some regular exercise.

Type 1 diabetes is an unpreventable autoimmune type of diabetes that causes a person to no longer produce insulin, the hormone all mammals need in order to stay alive.

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U.S. NEWS: Insulin Costs Are Skyrocketing. This Is Why

By Dr. Kevin Campbell

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes – representing nearly 10 percent of our population. Those with Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes must inject daily insulin in order to survive. While Type 2 diabetes is far more common than Type 1, nearly one-third of those with Type 2 must also inject insulin on a daily basis. For some, the cost of diabetic supplies – particularly insulin – can lead to negative health consequences. In the last several decades, insulin prices have skyrocketed.

Insulin, discovered in 1921 has no generic competitors – only brand-name products are produced. A new study was presented in late June at the American Diabetes Association’s annual scientific sessions showing that the cost of insulin results in nearly 25 percent of patients not taking insulin as they should. “Self-rationing” of insulin by patients can result in serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as blindness, loss of limbs, kidney failure and even death. Many patients are going to pharmacies only to find out that they must pay hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars for insulin.

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