BISMARCK – A bill that puts restrictions on insulin insurance for public employees passed the North Dakota State Senate Wednesday.
The carrier of Senate Bill 2140, Sen. Kristin Roers, R-Dis. 27, Fargo, described the bill as a mandate of insurance to cap insulin copays. The bill received a four to two Do Not Pass in committee.
“Insurance mandates in general have a few issues,” said Sen. Roers. “The first being that the federal government has a few rules that limit the impact of any statewide insurance mandate. Any bill we pass is prohibited from affecting a few categories of insurance. The only type that this could affect are called fully funded plans, which is 20% of the market. In North Dakota, the free market has worked well over the last three years as our three largest carriers now offer a copay cap of $20 or less to the vast majority of their fully funded plans.”
Roers added the bill would only affect a small sliver of the population, and though she believes they would still appreciate it, she said insurance mandates lead to increased costs, and premiums would be affected.
“There’s no reason for big pharma to be charging the kinds of dollars that they do for insulin,” said Sen. Dick Dever, R-Dis. 32, Bismarck. “We’re done paying more. Insulin has been on the market for over 100 years. There’s no research and developments they’re trying to recoup. They’re just charging that because they can. I know this bill is between the consumer and the insurance company, but somebody needs to put in place the ability to stand up and say no more.”
The bill passed by a vote of 34 to 12 and was re-referred to the Senate Appropriations committee.