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Can You Get Insulin For Free

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Be Safe: Older Insulins Can Still Cause Severe Hypoglycemia

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Even though R and NPH are older insulin types, they can still cause severe hypoglycemia. It is extremely important to fully understand how the action of each insulin works before you attempt to use it. Each type of insulin out there works in a specific way and cannot be safely interchanged without this awareness.

We strongly advise you talk to a healthcare provider for help with dosing R and NPH. They will likely take your weight and what you eat to come to an estimated starting point. Youll test your blood sugar levels to be extra safe and to fine-tune your dosing which is best to do slowly and gradually and with the aid of a healthcare provider.

Insulin Access Emergency Resources

Some of those resources available to those who might need it most include

Samples of Insulin: Doctors offices and health clinics often keep small samples of insulin on hand whether it be vial or pen to give to patients on a sample or emergency basis. Sometimes, if a patient is interested in trying out a different insulin, running out of their particular insulin, or cant get immediate access to a new prescription, this can be a stop-gap until they can afford or obtain a full prescription.

Older, Lower-Cost Insulin: While its certainly not as effective as modern fast-acting or basal insulins like Humalog, Novolog, Lantus or Levemir, there are older varieties of insulin available at both Walgreens and CVS. For many years under the brand name ReliOn, Walgreens has sold this insulin for a much more affordable price currently about $25. This has been a contract with both Lilly and Novo insulin over the years, but its currently Novo R/N and 70/30 insulin brands sold under the ReliOn name. Most recently, CVS began a ReducedRx program, and in May 2017 will start selling Novos R, N and 70/30 for the discounted cost of $10. While this may not be great insulin by todays standards, and it wont be compatible with those hoping to use insurance Rx coverage, it certainly can be used for cash buys in an emergency situation when theres no other alternative.

Utah Insulin Savings Program

The Utah Insulin Savings Program helps Utahns buy insulin at discounted rates. Launched in June 2020, it is primarily designed for people who do not have health insurance or who have insurance with large deductibles that require them to pay for a significant part of their insulin costs. This program is administered by PEHP and was created from HB207 in the Utah legislative session.

Applications are usually processed in a few days. Learn more or apply at .

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See If You Qualify For Free Insulin

Drug companies offer free insulin to people below certain income thresholds, says Rich Sagall, M.D., president of Needymeds, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers find discounts and savings programs on thousands of medications.

The problem of finding affordable insulin is so widespread that its the second-most common reason patients contact his group, Sagall says.

In mid-2019, these programscalled patient assistance programsraised that cutoff to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $50,000 for a single person or $103,000 for a family of four, Sagall says. That means more people may be able to qualify.

Still, there are some caveats. One is that these programs can be discontinued or change their income or other qualifications at any time.

Plus, Sagall says, dont expect to receive the medications right away. It often takes up to two weeks from the time you fill out the forms till you receive the insulin. While some companies have made it easier to submit applications, it will still take several working days before a decision is made.

Another caveat is that these programs apply only to people who dont have insurance or those whose insurance doesnt cover a companys drug. And you likely wont qualify if you have Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance from a federal source such as the Veterans Administration, Sagall says. Though do check back periodically, he says, because the qualification requirements can change.

Not So Sweet: Insulin Affordability Over Time

Can You Get Free Insulin?
  • With costs rising rapidly, insulin is becoming more difficult to afford for many Americans, especially those with inadequate insurance coverage.

  • For adults ages 18 to 64, the most important policy factor in having affordable access to insulin is living in a state that expanded Medicaid eligibility. Medicaid protects people with diabetes from high out-of-pocket costs.

  • With costs rising rapidly, insulin is becoming more difficult to afford for many Americans, especially those with inadequate insurance coverage.

  • For adults ages 18 to 64, the most important policy factor in having affordable access to insulin is living in a state that expanded Medicaid eligibility. Medicaid protects people with diabetes from high out-of-pocket costs.

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Uninsured And Need Insulin

Learn how you can get affordable insulin without insurance coverage

If you are uninsured or have recently lost your employee-based insurance, it might seem like your options for managing your diabetes are limited. Challenges with access and affordability can increase the chance that people will ration or skip doses of insulin, leading to many serious complications like diabetic ketoacidosis and visits to the emergency room. Everyone with diabetes should be able to afford insulin, regardless of whether they are covered by insurance.

Though insulin prices have increased over the years, there many programs that can help people who dont have insurance get insulin and also save on costs as a side note, profitability of insulin has actually declined, as shown through rebates and subsidies. Assistance and cost-saving programs are offered by a range of organizations, including pharmaceutical companies and retail pharmacies. Since each program varies by cost, type of insulin offered, and duration of supply, its important to explore your options carefully. Weve organized details on various assistance programs and resources to help you navigate this.

What are my options?

Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, and Lilly have their own insulin savings programs for people. Sanofi and Novo Nordisk both cap a monthly supply of insulin at $99 , while Lilly has recently introduced a $35 cap in response to COVID-19.

Older Formulations Of Insulin

If youre in absolute need of insulin with minimal funds and have no options for free insulin, then you can obtain very affordable older types of insulin over the counter from Walmart or Sams Club.

But you can only obtain these if you do not have any health insurance coverage. This insulin is sold under the ReliOn name and costs $25 for a 10mL vial. It works differently than newer insulins, so you will need to learn how to dose it correctly. However, this should not be your first option as it is very dangerous to guess the dose you need. If you are in serious need, talk to your doctor for advice.

Apart from these options, you can also explain to your healthcare provider about your financial situation and that youre struggling to afford your prescribed insulin. Your primary healthcare provider may have insulin samples at their office, which they can offer to you at least for emergency purposes.

They can also help you in reducing your cost for the insulin by writing a larger quantity prescription, changing brands or formulas of your prescribed medication, or documenting your medical needs for other patient assistance programs.

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Options For Uninsured Patients

First, remember to check for coupons like those at and patient assistance programs offered by insulin manufacturers. Major insulin manufacturers in the US offer patient assistance programs to uninsured patients and patients on Medicare Part D, so they can get their insulin for free. These programs have certain eligibility restrictions, requirements and limitations, so be sure to read the fine print before using them. More information is available below.

Then, patients sometimes ask if they can switch to an insulin that may be cheaper out of pocket. Insulins come in certain classes, like rapid-acting or long-acting insulins. But even within these classes, individual insulins may have different peak times and durations of effectiveness. While there are standard conversion recommendations when changing from one insulin to another, this process requires close observation from a physician, especially if the patient has type 1 diabetes. It may also involve the use of a continuous glucose monitorlike Dexcom, Libre, and Eversense sensorswhich are relatively new to the field of diabetes treatment.

Get Assistance From The Lilly Diabetes Solutions Center

How to get HIGH Quality insulin IF YOU MAKE LESS THAN 68,000/year!

Eli Lilly also provides point-of-sale savings, free insulin, and more through the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center. According to their website,Each month, over 10,000 people get help affording their insulin, including immediate supplies of Lilly insulin and customized solutions that lower the amount they pay at the pharmacy.

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Lilly Mn Continuing Need Program

  • Download the Minnesota Continuing Need Program for Minnesota residents prescribed Lilly products here: or call 1-855-447-8412 to ask for an application to be sent via mail.
  • Complete the application and either fax the application and financial documents to 1-833-200-6304 or mail to the address listed on the application.
  • You must include copies of your proof of Minnesota residency, proof-of-income documentation, proof of plan benefit showing you pay out-of-pocket more than $75 for a 30-day supply of insulin.
  • Within 10 business days of receiving your application, a decision will be made regarding your eligibility.
  • If approved, you will receive a document called Statement of Eligibility, good for 12 months. You will take this to your pharmacy in Minnesota, along with your prescription and proof of residency.
  • Your pharmacy may collect a fee of up to $50 for a 90-day supply. If you have questions regarding that fee, you must speak with the pharmacist. Lilly is not responsible for that fee, nor does it receive any part of that fee.

Why Is Insulin So Expensive Right Now

Scientists discovered insulin therapy in 1922 as a derivative of animal insulin, according to an article published in July 2012 in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives. Because the insulin of that era required several injections per day to manage blood sugar, researchers worked on ways to make the drug last longer. In the 1930s insulin makers began adding protamine and zinc to their formulas, extending insulins efficacy to the 24- to 36-hour range. In 1946, isophane insulin, also known as NPH, came onto the market as an intermediate-acting insulin that lasts up to 24 hours.

In 1978 human insulin was synthesized with recombinant DNA technology, and was marketed beginning in 1982. Human insulins currently on the market include rapid-acting regular , which is taken with meals and human NPH .

In the 1990s scientists engineered insulin analogs to have a more reliable duration of action through the modification of amino acid chains, according to the article. Popular analogs currently on the market include fast-acting , Apidra , Humalog as well as intermediate and long-acting Levemir Tresiba and Lantus, Toujeo, and Basaglar .

As the working group explains, the insulin supply chain leading from manufacturer to consumer is complex, with numerous parties including wholesalers, pharmacy benefit managers , employers, insurance health plans, and pharmacies in between that stand to gain or lose based on insulin sales.

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Typically with drug pricing, a manufacturer sets the list price and sells the product to wholesalers, who handle distribution to pharmacies, though some pharmacy chains deal directly with the manufacturer. Pharmacies distribute the medications to consumers and collect whatever insurance-plan copays are due .

Yet a description of the process isnt complete without describing the role of the PBMs. They often manage the pharmacy benefit portion of a health plan on behalf of payers for healthcare, including large employers health insurers that provide pharmacy benefits to Medicare enrollees or cover state Medicaid program enrollees and health insurance plans sold directly to individuals. As part of the process, they develop the formulary, a continually updated list of drugs that the PBM approves for reimbursement. Drug manufacturers negotiate discounts of their drugs list prices through cost-lowering rebates with the PBMs , in hopes of maintaining a desirable placement within the formulary. PBMs retain a portion of the rebates, according to the working group report. But there isnt much transparency about how much money from the drug list price that PBMs retain.

Soliqua 100/33 Cash Offer & Insulins Valyou Savings Program


Insulins Valyou Savings ProgramYou must fill all Sanofi insulin prescriptions at the same time, together each month. This offer is valid for up to five boxes of Toujeo Max Solostar pen in addition to other Sanofi insulins.

  • Click on this link: and choose one of the Sanofi insulins under the Sign up today to lock in this price for 12 months. Click on the button.
  • After answering the questions on the webpage, you will download the Sanofi Insulins Valyou Savings Program card.
  • Provide the card to the pharmacy when you pick up your Sanofi insulin prescriptions. You can call the pharmacy to provide your Savings Card information ahead of time.

Soliqua 100/33 Cash Offer

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Solutions For How To Get Insulin When You Cant Afford It

One of the first things you should do when you realize that you arent able to afford your insulin is to contact a healthcare provider and let them know about your situation. Many practices are willing and able to give out insulin samples, which can hold you over as you look for ways to get a regular supply of insulin that will cost less.

Look into Drug Savings Cards

When it comes to drug savings cards, people with government-backed prescription drug coverage usually cant use one of these savings cards. However, it is still worth looking into, as it can dramatically reduce the price of insulin for you and potentially lower your copay to zero. Reach out to the insulin drug companies to find out if you can get one.

Apply For Assistance

There are some programs out there that can help you afford insulin. Here is a list of them with links for learning more information:

Check Health Insurance to Make Sure Youre Getting the Best Deal

Go on your health insurance plans website or call the insurance customer service line and see if youre using the insulin covered by your plan at the best price. You should also check that your prescription is being filled at a pharmacy that is covered by your plan.

If insulin with the best coverage is different from the insulin you use, call your doctors office and ask about changing your prescription, as this can bring down the price of your insulin.

Speak With a Doctor About Your Ability to Afford Insulin

Consider Administering Your Insulin With A Lower

But important to note is that switching may come with additional burdens. The lowest cost delivery method is using a vial and injecting yourself by syringe. It also can be the most painful and difficult method, with the greatest room for errors leading to hypoglycemic episodes.

A prefilled syringe that you use to inject yourself in the fatty tissue with a very thin needle is a more expensive but convenient option, with less room for error in dosage. For comparison: a vial of Humulin R costs $191 per vial, or $0.19 per unit while a Humulin R Kwikpen costs $358 per pen and $0.24 per unit, according to the prescription-drug coupon app GoodRx.

A computerized pump, which delivers insulin 24 hours a day through a catheter placed under the skin, most closely mimics the bodys own way of releasing insulin. It is also the most expensive about $6,000 for the device, plus an additional $1,500 per year in supplies and not always covered by insurance. Plus, you must still pay for the insulin.

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Why You Need A Certificate To Get Free Prescriptions

Legally people with diabetes need to have a certificate to claim free prescriptions. People with diabetes have always needed to have a medical exemption certificate to claim free prescriptions, but this is now being enforced through a central system the Government introduced in September 2014. If you claim a free prescription without a medical exemption certificate, you may be issued with a penalty charge notice and have to pay the cost of the prescription.

What to do if you’ve been issued with a penalty charge notice.

There Is No Competition


Part of the reason that insulin is expensive is because there is a lack of competition. Three companies are responsible for 99% of the insulin market. In the United States, these companies are protected from generic competitors under patent law. The manufacturers continue to make tiny changes to their insulin products in order to extend their exclusivity rights. For example, Sanofi has filed 74 patent applications for Lantus alone.

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Soliqua 100/33 Savings Program Formulary Coverage

Here is your Action Plan:

  • Click here: to check eligibility and download the Soliqua Savings Card.
  • Provide this information to the pharmacy so they can add this Soliqua Savings Card to their payment system before you pick up your prescription.

Minnesota Urgent Need Program

  • Download and fill out an application for the Urgent Need Program if you have less than a 7-day supply of insulin and will run out before you can access insulin affordably. This application will provide you with a one-time, 30-day supply of your insulin from a pharmacy for a $35 copay. The link to download the Urgent Need Program application is here:
  • Go to your pharmacy with the application, your identification proving you are a Minnesota resident, and $35. You must have a current prescription for the insulin you use.

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