One out of every seven people in the United States who filled an insulin prescription in 2017 and 2018 spent more than 40 percent of their post-subsistence family income — defined as a "catastrophic spending" level — on insulin.

A report published in the July issue of Health Affairs by Yale University researchers indicates that 14.1% of Americans (representing 1.2 million people) who use insulin reached those high spending levels over the course of one year.

"Nearly two-thirds of patients who experienced catastrophic spending on insulin were Medicare beneficiaries," the report notes. "Catastrophic spending was 61 percent less likely among Medicaid beneficiaries than among Medicare beneficiaries, suggesting that factors other than income, such as different types of insurance coverage, may influence catastrophic insulin spending."

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