Michigan Association of Health Plans

HB 4346 only shifts insulin pricing and is not the right solution for Michiganders

The price of insulin is too high – but House Bill 4346 won’t cut that price. It just makes everyone in Michigan pay more for it, even if they don’t need it.

If we want to cut the cost of insulin, we need to attack the predatory pricing practices of pharmaceutical companies, which continue to increase the list price of insulin with no connection to cost or increased quality. HB 4346, by limiting copays insulin users pay, will drive up the cost of health insurance for all.

This bill does nothing to stop those price increases.

Cost is the number one barrier to access this life-saving drug. According to a U.S. Senate report, the wholesale cost of Sanofi’s long-acting insulin pens, Lantus SoloStar, increased from $303 in 2014 to $404 in 2019. The price of Novo Nordisk’s long-acting insulin pens, Levemir FlexTouch, increased from $303 in May 2014 to approximately $462 in January 2019, representing an increase of $159—or 52%— in a little more than five years. Novo Nordisk’s rapid-acting insulin, Novolog FlexPen, rose from $324 in 2013 to $558 in 2018.

We support the Michigan Legislature and its efforts to address affordability issues for those with diabetes throughout our state and our health plan members share this common goal as they strive to provide affordable access to high-quality health care.

We hope to continue to work with this committee and the bill sponsors to address this issue through solutions aimed at the root cause of unaffordable insulin prices. Unfortunately, HB 4346 is not a solution to the root cause.

This bill will:

  • Not reduce the price of insulin. It only shifts the cost to other Michiganders.

  • Result in a tax on employers and individuals who purchase fully-insured health insurance policies in Michigan.

  • Approve predatory pricing practices of pharmaceutical companies, who continue to increase the list price of insulin.

We encourage the health policy committee to focus its attention on more comprehensive approaches to address insulin drug affordability.