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Delaware Caps Monthly Cost of Diabetes Supplies at $35

Starting in 2023, Delaware residents will not have to pay more than $35 per month for diabetes supplies and equipment such as glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors, and testing strips.

Delaware Governor John Carney last month signed Senate Bill 316, which will cap the monthly cost of diabetes supplies and equipment at $35 for those on state insurance plans. This law will make blood glucose meters and strips, urine testing strips, syringes, continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and supplies, and insulin pump, and pump supplies more affordable and accessible.

Senate Bill 316 will apply to state-regulated health plans and state employee plans, which will take effect in 2023 and 2024, respectively. The $35 per month cap includes deductible payments and cost-sharing amounts charged once a deductible is met. The cap does not, however, apply to high deductible health plans or catastrophic health plans.

Although much of the conversation about diabetes costs focuses on insulin, diabetes supplies are also a significant cost for people with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), people with diabetes have medical expenses of about 2.3 times higher than those without diabetes. 

Diabetes supplies account for about 15 percent of diabetes medical expenses. On average, people with diabetes, even those with private insurance, spend $490 out-of-pocket on diabetes-related supplies each year. 

Diabetes technologies like CGM and insulin pumps can improve management and prevent complications. Of the over 7 million people with diabetes in the US who rely on insulin, only about a quarter use a CGM and only about half use an insulin pump. People without comprehensive insurance may not be able to afford a pump or CGM given the high cost of these devices, and many list gaps in insurance coverage as a top reason for discontinuing CGM.

The passage of Senate Bill 316 also comes soon after a study found that 1.3 million adults (or about 16.5% of insulin users) with diabetes had to ration their insulin for cost purposes. President Joe Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act that included a provision to cap the monthly cost of insulin at $35 for Medicare beneficiaries.

Senate Bill 316 is just one part of a cascade of legislation that is needed to reduce the rising costs of diabetes medication and supplies. Other states have implemented insulin copay caps, including for people on commercial insurance, but these policies do not consider the equipment that is often needed for insulin delivery. All Delaware House and Senate representatives present voted in favor of the bill with only two Senate members being absent. 

Although insulin is not covered under this specific bill, decreasing the costs of diabetes supplies and equipment could allow people to better afford the drug and safely manage their diabetes.

For more about recent legislation and accessing affordable insulin, medication, and supplies read: