In early February, Senators Beidle, Augustine, Elfreth, Feldman, Hayes, Kelley, Klausmeier, Kramer, Reilly, and Washington introduced Senate Bill 410, an act concerning health insurance, coverage for insulin, and a prohibition on deductible, copayment, and coinsurance. If signed into law, this bill would drastically increase the quality of life for people in Maryland who are living with diabetes.
The purpose of the bill is
“…for prohibiting, except under certain circumstances, certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations from imposing a deductible, copayment, or coinsurance requirement on insulin [….]”
The law would have two main outcomes: first, more coverage for services and supplies without higher cost-sharing requirements, and second, an exemption for insulin and test strips from some cost-sharing requirements in plans that are not high-deductible plans.
More Coverage for Services and Supplies
The first part of S.B. 410 would require insurance companies and health service plans to provide coverage for people with diabetes to access all medically appropriate diabetes equipment, supplies, and outpatient services (like diabetes self-management training and medical nutrition therapy) that is prescribed by the patient’s healthcare team. It also would ensure that the annual deductibles or coinsurance requirements for the coverage required for these services and supplies is not higher just because insurers have to cover these supplies and services. This section would help ensure that people who have diabetes will not be stuck paying high prices out of pocket for these essential treatments and trainings because their insurance company would be required to cover them.
Exempt Insulin and Test Strips
The second part of S.B. 410 would exempt insulin and diabetes test strips from a patient’s deductible, copayment, or coinsurance requirement if the patient is not in a high deductible plan. While we’d prefer that the exemption apply to all insurance plans (including high deductible health insurance plans), this measure would be a huge step forward in increasing access to insulin and test strips for many people living with diabetes in Maryland. As all people affected by diabetes know, access to these supplies is absolutely necessary for survival and health.
If the bill passes, it would go into effect quickly, on January 1st, 2020. Ask your senator to support S.B. 410 today to increase access for all Marylanders who have diabetes!