christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie

HARTFORD, CT — The Insurance and Real Estate Committee took the first step Tuesday in forwarding insulin cap legislation to both the House and Senate.

The legislation will make Connecticut’s insulin cap the lowest in the country at $50 per month for residents who are on a state-regulated insurance plans. It also caps insulin supplies at $100 per month.

Rep. Kurt Vail, R-Stafford Springs, who was the lone lawmaker to vote against the proposal Tuesday, asked who would pick up the difference between the mandated $50 per month and the actual cost of the insulin.

“To the extent that there is any additional costs it will be borne by all policyholders,” Sen. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown, told Vail.

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However, Lesser said he believes keeping people with Type 1 diabetes healthy will actually save the system money.

“I just think there might be a better approach,” Vail said.

He said if the insulin cost is $700 and the cost insurance companies can pass onto customers is only $50 a month then he can’t imagine insurance companies would “eat that $650.”

He asked if there was anything to prevent insurance companies from spreading that cost to all the other policyholders.

“The market is responding on it’s own,” Lesser said. “Cigna announced a $25 voluntary cap that they’re doing on their own because they know when you have one-quarter of Type 1 diabetics who are rationing their insulin that results in costs on their own. Those costs are borne by all of us as well.”

Vail said he thinks the problem is with the pharmaceutical industry.

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The bill also requires insurance companies to cover the cost of emergency insulin up to three times a year for their policyholders. Everyone, including those on Medicare, would have access to emergency insulin if they go to a pharmacist, according to Lesser.

Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, said the legislation will impact the lives of thousands of people in Connecticut.

An estimated 11.4 percent of the state’s population has diabetes, and 36.5 percent have prediabetes.

Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, asked that any amendments to the legislation include input from Republicans because he doesn’t believe the bill should be viewed as partisan.

“An issue like this should be focused on the policy and the people, not on the politics,” Kelly said.

Both the Senate version and the House version passed the committee 17-1. Vail was the only one to vote against the legislation.