People living with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin by injection or infusion every day. Insulin is life support – we all need it to stay alive, as much as we need oxygen, water, and food to eat. Without access to insulin, nothing else we do here at Beyond Type 1 matters. Unfortunately (and alarmingly) many people living with T1D in the United States and around the globe do not have reliable access to affordable insulin.
If you live in the United States and you’re struggling to pay for this month’s refill, you’ve come to the right place. Explore tools + actions you can take to get involved with access advocacy here.
If you need insulin
If you are in emergency need of insulin right now, always go to the emergency room. The below resources address those struggling to afford monthly costs.
Manufacturer Patient Assistance Programs ($0 out of pocket, for those who qualify)
- If you take Lilly insulin (Humalog, Basaglar) and are uninsured or have Medicare Part D and meet certain income parameters, you may be eligible for free insulin through LillyCares. Call the Lilly Diabetes Solutions Call Center Helpline at 1-833-808-1234 for personalized help finding your options.
- If you take Novo Nordisk insulin (Fiasp, NovoLog, NovoRapid, Levemir, Tresiba): the NovoCare Patient Assistance Program provides free insulin to those who qualify, which is limited to those with no private insurance and who do not qualify for federal insurance programs and who are at or below 400% of the federal poverty level – with a few exceptions.
- Patients in immediate need and at risk of rationing can also receive a free, one-time, immediate supply of up to three vials or two packs of pens of Novo Nordisk insulin with a prescription by calling 844-NOVO4ME (844-668-6463) or by visit NovoCare.com.
- If you take Sanofi insulin (Admelog, Lantus, Toujeo, Apidra): the Patient Assistance Connection Program provides Sanofi insulins to those who qualify, which is limited to those with no private insurance and who do not qualify for federal insurance programs and who are at or below 400% of the federal poverty level – with a few exceptions.
Copay Cards ($0 – $99 standard out of pocket, including some options that work for those without insurance)
Copay cards reduce the out-of-pocket cost you pay at the pharmacy exist for most insulins. You can find a full list options through the Affordable Insulin Project or through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. Unfortunately, copay cards are typically not available for those insured through Medicaid or Medicare. Details on current specific copay programs are below.
- If you take Lilly insulin (Humalog, Basaglar) and do not have health insurance OR are covered by commercial/private insurance (including high deductible health plans), you are eligible for Lilly’s $35 per month copay card. Call the Lilly Diabetes Solutions Call Center Helpline to sign up. Once qualified, you can choose whether to receive the savings card via email (expected within 24 hours of placing a call) or in the mail.
- If you have high-deductible health insurance or are uninsured, you may be eligible for Lilly insulin at 40% discounted through BlinkHealth but this is not available if you are insured through Medicaid or Medicare.
- If you take Novo Nordisk insulin (Fiasp, NovoLog, NovoRapid, Levemir, Tresiba) and do not have health insurance or are covered by commercial/private insurance (including high deductible health plans), you are eligible for Novo Nordisk’s My$99Insulin Program, which allows for the purchase of up to three vials or two packs of insulin pens, of any combination of insulins from Novo Nordisk Inc. for $99 per month. If you have private insurance, you may also be eligible for a variety of copay card savings programs depending on the type of insulin you take. All options can be found by entering your information on NovoCare.com.
- If you take Sanofi insulin (Admelog, Lantus, Toujeo, Apidra) and do not have prescription medication insurance, you are eligible for Sanofi’s Insulins ValYou Savings Program, through which people living with diabetes in the US can pay $99 to access their insulin with a valid prescription. This program offers up to 10 boxes of pens and/or 10 mL vials (which can be a mix of long-acting and short-acting as needed) per month for those without prescription medication insurance. If you do have insurance, Sanofi offers copay cards for each of their insulin types, promising as little as $0 and no more than $99 out of pocket per month.
- If you take Mannkind insulin (Afrezza) and your private insurance covers Afrezza, you can sign up for the Savings Program, which may lower copays for those with private insurance.
Other Insulin Options
- R and N human insulins are available over-the-counter in 49 states and cost much less ($25-$40 per vial at Walmart) than analog insulins, like Humalog, Novolog, Lantus, etc. They work differently than analog insulins, but in an emergency situation can be a resource. Speak with the pharmacist and your healthcare provider if possible before changing your regimen.
- A generic version of Humalog — Insulin Lispro — is available at pharmacies in the U.S. for $137.35 per vial and $265.20 for a package of five KwikPens (50% the price of Humalog.) If you have a prescription for Humalog, you do not need an additional prescription for Lispro; your pharmacist will be able to substitute the cheaper option. Insulin Lispro is not currently covered by insurance.
- Authorized generic versions of NovoLog and NovoLog Mix at 50% list price are now stocked at the wholesaler level. People can order them at the pharmacy and they’ll be available for pick up in 1-3 business days.
- Ask your physician for samples. While this is not a long-term access option, your care provider may be able to provide you with a few vials/pens for free, and bringing your HCP into the access conversation means that they can help direct you to other options that might be available to you, like local community health centers with insulin available.
If you need other diabetes supplies
- Explore test strip subscription programs.
- Cr3 Diabetes is a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes supplies to those in need through an application process.
- United Healthcare Children’s Foundation provides financial assistance toward out-of-pocket costs for medical services for families of children – apply for a grant through their website.
If you need help getting insurance coverage
- If you have recently experienced an event that left you without insurance, explore your options.
- If insurance is not an option through your employer or you are unemployed, head to Healthcare.gov. From there you can explore health insurance and assistance options based on your state, income, and specific circumstances.
- If you need help navigating health insurance, including how to choose the best coverage for you, visit our Health Insurance Guide.
- NIDDK has a publication called “Financial Help for Diabetes Care” explaining programs which may provide additional coverage for medical expenses for a person with diabetes. View online here.
- Insure Kids Now! – Every state in the nation has a health insurance program for people under 18. This website is offered by the US Health and Human services Dept to help navigate getting insurance – or call 877-Kids-Now
Join the advocacy movement
Insulin access isn’t just about making sure everyone has the insulin they need today. The support solutions listed above do not address the underlying issue of WHY so many worldwide struggle to afford insulin. Explore tools + actions you can take to get involved with access advocacy here.