Get Insulin

12/20/17
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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 or dedicated to advocating to make insulin accessible to all, you’ve come to the right place.

 

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 Discount Programs

  • If you take Lilly insulin (Humalog, Basaglar): the Lilly Diabetes Solutions Call Center Helpline provides personalized assistance for finding your best cost option (as long as you take Lilly insulin). Call 833-808-1234 9am to 8pm ET Monday to Friday. 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. Additionally, if you are uninsured and meet certain income parameters you may be eligible for free insulin through LillyCares.
  • If you take Novo Nordisk insulin (Fiasp, NovoLog, NovoRapid, Levemir, Triseba): 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 300% of the federal poverty level – with a few exceptions.
  • If you take Sanofi insulin (Admelog, Lantus, Toujeo): the Patient 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 250% of the federal poverty level – with a few exceptions. Also offered by Sanofi is the 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 per month.

Copay Cards 

Copay cards that reduce the out-of-pocket cost you pay at the pharmacy exist for most of the above insulins. Find a full list of links provided through the Affordable Insulin Project here. Unfortunately, copay cards are typically not available for those insured through Medicaid or Medicare.

Use the tool from the Partnership for Prescription Assistance to search in one place for discount programs and copay cards you qualify for here

Cheaper Insulin Options 

  • R and NPH human insulins are available over-the-counter in 49 states and cost much less than analog insulins ($25-$40 per vial at Walmart). 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.
  • 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 here.
  • 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 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.
  • 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