On April 15, 2020, Governor Tim Walz signed into law the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act.
This bipartisan bill created an Insulin Safety Net Program to help qualified Minnesotans access a supply of prescription insulin at an affordable price.
Insulin is a hormone that naturally lowers the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the body. A person who is diabetic cannot naturally produce the levels of insulin they need and may need an insulin prescription from their doctor.
Many people with diabetes take insulin injections based on their blood glucose levels. There are short- and long-acting doses of insulin that are produced by multiple manufacturers.
Minnesota’s Insulin Safety Net Program allows a pharmacist to dispense the insulin as prescribed by a health care practitioner.
The safety net program does not cover:
The law established specific roles for both public and private entities.
MNsure’s responsibilities include conducting a public awareness campaign, training MNsure-certified navigators to assist Minnesotans with accessing insulin and providing compensation for eligible activities and maintaining a public list of navigators trained to assist individuals
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy responsibilities include:
Office of the Legislative Auditor responsibilities include reviewing the program to determine if manufacturers are meeting their responsibilities, whether MNsure’s training program for navigators is adequate, and whether a sufficient number of navigators are providing assistance.
Minnesota Department of Health responsibilities include conducting a satisfaction survey of individuals who have accessed the program covering a variety of topics including whether they worked with a navigator and their satisfaction with that experience.
Minnesota pharmacies responsibilities include:
Insulin manufacturers responsibilities include creating an application for eligible individuals to access a continuing supply of insulin and supporting the application process.
Every outpatient and community pharmacy that is licensed by the State of Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is required to participate in the insulin safety net program.
Non-resident pharmacies, such as mail order pharmacies and inpatient hospital pharmacies, are not required to participate.
The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act created two different insulin assistance programs as part of the Insulin Safety Net Program.
These programs have different applications and provide urgent-need or long-term assistance.
Individuals that are in urgent need of insulin can access the application for an emergency supply of insulin online at MNInsulin.org or complete an application at a pharmacy when filling their insulin prescription.
The pharmacist will dispense up to a 30-day supply of insulin and provide the consumer with a list of trained MNsure-certified navigators that can help them through the process of applying for continuing need insulin.
There are currently three manufacturers that supply prescription insulin Minnesota (Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi).
Individuals that need a continuing safety net supply of insulin will complete an application for a manufacturer’s patient assistance program.
The manufacturer will process the application and determine eligibility for the continuing safety net program.
If an individual qualifies, they will submit the manufacturer’s eligibility statement, along with a valid insulin prescription, to a pharmacy to receive a 90-day supply of insulin, refillable up to 12 months.
MNsure-certified navigators with contracted agencies can assist individuals through the manufacturer’s patient assistance program application process and receive a payment for eligible activities.