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. 

Programs, plans, discounts, and other available resources worth exploring:

  • The Affordable Insulin Project –  whether you have insurance through your employer, no insurance, or a prohibitively high deductible, the Affordable Insulin Project has compiled free guides to understanding exactly what you can do in your specific situation.
    • If you have no insurance or a prohibitively high deductible, start here + explore discount programs that might help you get insulin you need now.
  • Discount Programs – Insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk each have programs worth exploring if you’re struggling to afford your insulin.
    • Eli Lilly: Lilly Cares – To receive free insulin from Eli Lilly, you must be a legal resident of the United States and have a household income under the annual income limit. Additionally, you cannot be enrolled in or eligible for a government healthcare plan (such as Medicaid or Veteran’s Administration Benefits).
    • Sanofi: Patient Assistance Program – Through Sanofi Patient Connection, patients can get free Lantus or the Lantus SoloStar pen. To qualify, you must be a United States citizen, have no insurance coverage or not have access to the medication via their insurance, and must have an annual household income of less than or equal to 240% of the current federal poverty level. Furthermore, you cannot be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.
    • Novo Nordisk: Diabetes Care – If you are approved for the Patient Assistance Program, you may qualify to receive free diabetes medicine from Novo Nordisk for up to a year.  If approved, a free 120-day supply of medicine will be sent to the doctor who prescribed you the medication, and then you can pick it up. You must be US citizen or legal resident with total household income at or below 300% of the federal poverty line. Additionally, you cannot have any private prescription coverage or governmental healthcare.
    • To see if you qualify for a variety of prescription assistance programs, you can search through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance.
  • Online Pharmacy Savings – BlinkHealth and InsideRx are savings programs available to those without insurance paying out of pocket for insulin. Check to see if your brand is covered by either program.
  • R and NPH Insulins – older, 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.

Join the advocacy movement

Insulin access isn’t just about making sure everyone has the insulin they need today. The band-aid solutions listed above do not address the underlying issue of WHY so many worldwide struggle to afford insulin.

Here are a few ways to get involved, make some noise, and incite change:

  • The Diabetes Access Advocacy Toolkit: Created by T1International with funding from Beyond Type 1, this Toolkit is designed to help you make meaningful change. Sections include: Understand the Issue, Planning and Taking Action, Evaluating + Celebrating, and examples of advocacy case studies that have had real world success. Download the PDF here.
  • USA #Insulin4All Action on US Drug Pricing: Read up on the efforts spearheaded by T1International + the online advocacy organized around the hashtag #insulin4all. Chime in on Twitter + stay in the know for local events and opportunities!
    • #insulin4allTake a picture of your prescription receipt, post using #insulin4all and tag @beyondtype1 so we can boost your signal – share how crazy those out of pocket costs are!
  • Legal measures: Follow along with the Type 1 Diabetes Defense Foundation, an independent nonprofit legal organization (with no funding from pharma) filing class action lawsuits to challenge the overpricing of insulin and other supplies.
  • Advocate for yourself with your employer: you have a voice within your place of work. If you feel your employer-provided insurance coverage is inadequate for people with diabetes, take it to HR! The Affordable Insulin Project has created a free guide to taking action at your workplace.

We at Beyond Type 1 are committed to amplifying the efforts of others while working to build insulin pricing advocacy efforts to make real change. This is a major organizational focus for 2018 with more ways to get involved in the future. Stay tuned.