ROCHESTER — Now there are two Minnesota insurers who plan to cap monthly insulin costs at the equivalent of a half a tank of gas.
Effective January 2020, the independent nonprofit health plan UCare will cap insulin costs at $25 a month for its members. The move comes a week after Medica announced a similar policy change in Minnesota.
The announcements reflect a growing concern over runaway insulin costs. They are made possible by a recent IRS policy change allowing insulin coverage to be excluded from deductible charges in certain high deductible plans.
"When we designed our 2020 Individual and Family plans, we gave considerable attention to helping our members with diabetes afford insulin," UCare President and CEO Mark Traynor said in a statement."
The cap on insulin costs joins a slate of non-pharmacological diabetes specific benefits offered by the insurer, including discounts on healthy foods at participating markets, community education classes, health club memberships and phone based coaching from a registered nurse. UCare has 33,000 Individual Family Plan holders. The insurer covers insulin for slightly more than 1% of that number.
UCare, which began as a demonstration project at the University of Minnesota Medical School in the mid 1980's, has 430,000 members and is the fourth largest health plan in the state. It also serves members in western Wisconsin.