Health Advice



Fact check: Biden is right about $35 insulin cap but exaggerates prior costs for Medicare enrollees

Samantha Putterman, KFF Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

There are different ways to administer insulin, including through a pump, inhaler, or pen injector filled with the medicine.

In a 2023 report, HHS researchers estimated that about 37% of insulin fills for Medicare enrollees cost patients more than $35, and 24% of fills exceeded $70. Nationally, the average out-of-pocket cost for insulin was $58 per fill, typically for a 30-day supply, the report found. Patients with private insurance or Medicare paid about $63 per fill, on average.

For people with employer-sponsored insurance, the average monthly out-of-pocket spending on insulin in 2019 was $82, according to a report published in October 2021 by the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit that studies health care prices. The study found that the majority of patients were spending an average of $35 a month, or lower, on the drug. But among the “8.7% of individuals in the highest spending category,” the median monthly out-of-pocket spending on insulin was about $315, the study said.

Our Ruling

Biden said Medicare beneficiaries used to pay an average of $400 per month for insulin and are now paying $35 per month.

The Inflation Reduction Act capped the monthly price of insulin at $35 for Medicare enrollees, starting in 2023. The change built in price predictability and helped insulin users save hundreds of dollars a year.


However, most Medicare enrollees were not paying a monthly average of $400 before these changes, according to experts and government data. Costs vary, so it is possible some people paid that much in a given month, depending on their coverage phase and dosage.

Research has shown that patients with private insurance or Medicare often paid more than $35 a month for their insulin, sometimes much more, but not as high as the $400 average Biden cited.

We rate Biden’s statement Half True.


PolitiFact copy chief Matthew Crowley contributed to this report.

©2024 KFF Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus