"We have people with diabetes who take insulin who are having trouble affording their insulin", said Stettin.
Express Scripts has announced a plan to cut patient co-pays for insulin products at $25 a month ahead of a pricing showdown with United States politicians next week.
Bowing to criticism that it's taking advantage of diabetics who need insulin to stay alive, Cigna has announced plans to reduce the cost of the essential drug to about $25 a month. Last year, patients paid an average of $41.50 a month out of pocket, including deductibles, copays or coinsurance, for the lifesaving diabetes drug, the company said.
Cigna's Miller said in a statement to highlight the co-pay plan that: "We need to ensure these individuals feel secure in their ability to afford every fill so they don't miss one dose, which can be risky for their health".
"The stories are really powerful, but they don't tell us how common this problem has become", the study's author, Dr. Kasia Kipska, said of how some patients try to ration insulin.
Only those who are under the pharmacy plans managed by Express Scripts will be available for the program.
"American families are suffering from the ongoing and staggering price hikes of insulin", Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said at Tuesday's hearing. "And we see an opportunity to do something about that". For one thing, a huge number of Americans live with diabetes; of the 30 million Americans with the illness, 7.4 million rely on insulin.
A January report from the Health Care Cost Institute found that Type 1 diabetes costs alone rose from $12,467 in 2012 to $18,494 in 2016.
Cigna and Express Scripts clients will activate this new program for participating plans by moving covered insulin products to a lower copayment. Prices for the most commonly prescribed insulins have increased by more than 700% over the last 20 years, accounting for inflation.
When asked about the timing of the program's release, Stettin said that it was "serendipitous" and that the program has been worked on for "a while".