Some people living with diabetes must take insulin by injection or infusion every day. Unfortunately (and alarmingly) many people living with diabetes 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). Lilly Cares donates these insulins: (basalglar, Glucagon, Trulicity, Humalog, Humulin and Mumalog Mix)—a patient can apply for a three-month supply of insulin for free. A patient must submit a new application each time he/she is applying. The patient needs the doctor’s involvement or letter stating the need for insulin. 800-545-6962.
- New Lilly Diabetes Solutions Call Center Helpline provides personalized assistance. 833-808-1234
- 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 percent of the current federal poverty level. Furthermore, you cannot be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. 866-991- 2840
- Sanofi has a new ValYou cash payment savings program for Lantusand for their rapid-acting Ademlog.
- Sanofi also has a new ValYou cash payment savings program for Lantusand for their rapid-acting Ademlog.
- 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 percent of the federal poverty line. Additionally, you cannot have any private prescription coverage or governmental healthcare. Novo Nordisk has a prescription savings program for Novolin R, N or 70/3010ml vials to help uninsured patients or patients enrolled in a high deductible health plan at any pharmacy in the CVS Caremark retail network. You will pay $25 per vial after downloading a prescription savings card.
- 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 InsideRxare savings programs available to those without insurance paying out of pocket for insulin. Check to see if your brand is covered by either program. BeSafeRxcan help identify scams in online pharmacy space.
- Medisense Meter – donates free meters and strips (800-527-3339)
- MedicAlert Foundation– provides a MedicAlert membership and a basic stainless steel MedicAlert ID for individuals unable to afford the cost (1-800-432-5378)
- Aventis– donates Lantus insulin (800-221-4025)
- BD– Money saving coupons for syringes and patients just need to call and request coupons. The company also offers a one time only coupon for a free box of syringes.
- Lifescan– Contact for assistance with blood glucose monitor supplies. Call 800-227-8862 or send an email request with name and address to CustomerService@Lifescan.com
- FreeMeds.com – you cannot have an insurance prescription card and access this program, but you can have insurance and this program. (888-722-7556)
- Blink Health
- Rx Assist
- Free Medicine Foundation
- Needy Meds– use Needy Meds calculatorto figure out if you qualify with your household income.
- Cr3 Diabetes
- 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.
- Basaglar (a generic insulin Glargine, like Lantus):A biosimilar insulin that is 15-20 percent cheaper than Lantus at $316.85 for five insulin pens.
Health Insurance Help
- NIDDK– Publication called “Financial Help for Diabetes Care” which offers programs, which may provide coverage for medical expenses for a person with diabetes. To order copies, call 800-860-8747, or the publication can be viewed online at http://www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/financialhelp/
- Insure Kids Now! – Every state in the nation has a health insurance program for people under 18. This website offered by the US Health and Human services Dept. www.insurekidsnow.gov or call 877-Kids-Now
- FreeMedicine.com– Provides prescription medication for people who do not have adequate insurance coverage or are experiencing financial hardship—no toll free number, but can be reached at 573-996-7300.
- Partnership for Prescription Assistance – Assistance program available to help offset the cost of supplies or prescription medicines 1-888-477-2669 www.pparx.org
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – www.cms.hhs.gov
- National Drugstores and Pharmacy Chain Patient Assistance – Speak with your local pharmacist about their prescription programs. Stores with these programs include Costco, CVS, K-mart, Rite Aid, Target, Wal-Mart and others.
- United Healthcare Children’s Foundation– The Foundation provides financial assistance toward the family’s share of the cost of medical services. www.uhccf.org
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 struggles 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!
- #insulin4all: Take 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 2 are committed to amplifying the efforts of others while working to build insulin pricing advocacy efforts to make real change.