Cigna caps insulin prices at $25

As insulin prices continue to skyrocket one insurance company announced plans to cap monthly insulin costs at $25

The plan, which is covered by the insurer and its subsidiary Express Scripts, began Wednesday for about 700,000 Cigna members. Miller told me the company has struck agreements with the country's three insulin manufacturers - Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi - for discounts on the insulin so the insurance company won't have to eat all the costs. Patients could start benefiting from the lower out-of-pocket costs in the next few months, depending on when employers decide to opt-in, according to an Express Scripts spokesman.

The move comes in the wake of heightened public scrutiny over soaring prices of the life-saving drug.

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More than a quarter of the approximately 24 million Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes use insulin - alone or along with other medications - to keep their blood glucose levels in check, according to research from Express Scripts. But there are millions of others with Type 2 diabetes who may also need insulin.

A recent Yale study highlighted the effects of this issue, showing that one in four people with diabetes who use insulin admitted to cutting back on the use of the drug because of cost.

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One report found a jump in prices for all types of insulin and insulin products. The average out-of-pocket cost for insulin for a typical patient insured by Cigna or Express Scripts previous year was $41.50 a month, Express Scripts said. That amounts to 9.4 percent of the USA population. Insulin access is ensured, as the two companies are partnering with insulin manufacturers to lower copayments to $25 at the point of sale.

"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 risky for their health", Dr. Steve Miller, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Cigna, said in the announcement. The federal agency sees it as a way to lower prices.

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Cigna's new pricing scheme is "a step in the right direction", added Cynthia Rice, a senior vice president at the nonprofit, in an email.

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