ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Senate passed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act on Tuesday, establishing a program providing emergency insulin access for Minnesotans with diabetes. The bill is named after Alec Smith, a young man who tragically died after rationing his insulin due to high costs. There have been many Minnesotans who have died or suffered serious health effects due to rationing, and the implementation of this program will help prevent tragedies like this from happening again.
“This is a great step forward in providing help to thousands of Minnesotans with diabetes who are facing rising costs for their lifesaving medication,” said Senator Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley). “Even during the crisis of COVID-19, it’s important for us to come together and tackle other issues that are facing Minnesota families, and I’m happy to see this bipartisan agreement be passed into law.”
The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act will help eligible Minnesotans who cannot afford their insulin and are facing an emergency need to access a 30-day supply at their pharmacy for a co-pay of $35. The emergency program does have certain eligibility requirements. The legislation also streamlines the process by which Minnesotans can access affordable insulin in the long-term and requires insulin manufacturers to make a patient assistance program available to those who meet eligibility requirements. Insulin manufacturers would participate in the program and could be fined up to $3.6 million a year, doubling in the second year, for non-compliance. The language of the bill is available here.
Additional legislation was passed responding to COVID-19 related issues, including testing coverage for the uninsured, electronic marriage licensing filing, court deadline changes, and allowing Minnesotans an additional 60 days after the end of the peacetime emergency to drive with a license from another jurisdiction before having to apply for a Minnesota license. Several other technical changes were included in the bill which is available here.