According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, approximately 1.3 million adults in Illinois have diabetes.
Since the turn of the century, the price of insulin has skyrocketed. In an effort to help residents, lawmakers are pushing legislation that would lower the costs in Illinois.
Senate Bill 667 would make Illinois the second state in the nation to set a cap on insulin payments, with a limit of $100 out-of-pocket for a 30-day supply.
“They’re forced to choose between life-saving insulin and other life necessities,” said Illinois State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-34th). “That’s just plain wrong.”
Stadelman’s teenage son is a Type 1 diabetic, he says his family is fortunate enough to have insurance but many don’t.
“When we pick up his prescription, I look at the retail price on that prescription and I just picked this up two days ago a matter of a fact, I look at the retail price and it’s $1,408.”
In 2001, patients were able to get insulin for $35 a vial but today, that cost has jumped to nearly $300.
“The insulin itself hasn’t changed, but the price has gone up like hundreds of percentages,” said Rockton resident Owen Stiffler. “So, to prevent that from going any higher, this [legislation] obviously needed.”
Stiffler also lives with Type 1 diabetes. He says he often hears of people that ration their insulin to make it last longer.
“People are literally dying because the prices are so outrageous,” said Stiffler. “Anything is going to help.”
Stiffler says most people take insulin every time they eat and go through a box in about a month.
He feels fortunate to have insurance to offset the costs but adds it’s an expense he’ll have to live with.
“I have to make sure I not only have a job, but like I can’t be self-employed myself because I wouldn’t be able to afford those out-of-pocket costs for insulin.”
The bill was originally filed in late May and will be reintroduced during the fall veto session.
“For the most part, both sides of the aisles are interested in capping these prices or bringing them down, which is encouraging but it hasn’t really happened for whatever reason,” said Stiffler. “I don’t know if it’s just the medical lobby is so strong or what it is.”