Finding low-cost options for your insulin can be overwhelming. Talking with your diabetes healthcare team about insulin costs will help your diabetes management and your budget. Please do not be afraid to talk to your providers about the cost of insulin.
To start, make sure you do the following:
- Check your health insurance formulary: every plan has a list of medications covered by the plan, called a formulary. Find the insulins covered by your plan.
- Know your copay options: most insurance plans divide their formulary by tiers to decide the copay. Insulin in a lower tier will cost less than insulin in a higher tier.
|Type of Insulin||Formulary Tier||Copay||Your Budget|
- Have a conversation with your provider about lowering your insulin cost: bring the list of insulin(s) covered by your plan to your medical visit. This information will help your provider choose the right insulin for you with the lowest copay or cost.
- If you are employed, ask if your employer offers a flexible savings account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) which may help cover the out-of-pocket cost for insulin.
Programs available to help lower your out-of-pocket cost:
Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs):
Insulin manufacturers provide free or low-cost insulin to people that meet certain eligibility requirements, for one year for their products. You need to apply to each company and wait for the response.
Most PAPs are for people with no or very little insurance coverage. If you have private insurance or full Medicare, you may not qualify.
All PAP applications are free and most require:
- proof of income
- insulin prescription
- citizen of the U.S. or legal resident
Your provider will need to complete a portion of your application, so make sure you complete your part and bring it with you to the medical visit.
Three options for insulin manufacturers:
- Lilly pharmaceuticals: call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at 1-833-808-1234 or visit the Lilly Cares Foundation at https://www.lillycares.com/
- Sanofi Cares North America: call 1-888-847-4877 or visit http://www.sanofipatientconnection.com/patient-assistance-connection
- Novo Nordisk: call 1-866-310-7549 or visit https://www.novocare.com/psp/PAP.html
Copay Saving Cards and Saving Programs from insulin manufacturers:
These programs only work if you have commercial insurance. If you have Medicare, Medicaid or other government insurance you do not qualify.
- Savings Card program: offer discounts depending on the amounts of your copay and days supply of your prescription. You can access details and enroll at novocare.com
- Up-coming program (January 2020): Cash Card Program will allow people with diabetes to buy up to three vials or two packs of FlexPen/FlexTouch pens of any combination of analog insulins for a flat price of $99.00/month.
- Savings Card program: it is available for Basaglar, Humalog U-200 and Humulin R U-500. You can access information and enroll at https://www.insulinaffordability.com/savings-cards.html
- Insulins Valyou Savings program: allows you to buy a month's supply of any of their insulins for $99 if you have no prescription insurance. There are eligibility requirements and restrictions apply. In order to pay $99 per month, all prescriptions for Sanofi insulin need to be filled together.
- Sanofi Patient Connection: is a program designed to assist patients in need of support. Access information at http://www.sanofipatientconnection.com/
- Savings Card program: it is available for Afrezza, access information or request a card at https://afrezza.copaysavingsprogram.com/
Novo Nordisk Human Insulin Program
If you don’t have prescription coverage and none of the programs above apply to you, talk to your diabetes healthcare team about using other insulin that have been around for a long time and are less expensive. For example, the following are available at Wal-Mart.
- Novolin ReliOn Insulin N 100units/mL vial à $24.88
- Novolin ReliOn Insulin N 70/30 flex pen à $42.88/box (contains 5 pens)
Coupons for insulin, other medications, syringes, and glucose monitoring supplies
Available sources for coupons or other available discounts on your diabetes supplies can be found at the following online sites.
- Blink Health: is a company that works with 35.000 pharmacies in the U.S. and negotiates better prices. You can make purchases using the website or smartphone app and pick-up at a store or ask for delivery. You can call 1-855-979-8150 to connect with their insulin patient support team. Visit: blinkhealth.com for more information.
- GoodRX: this search engine collects prices and discounts from over 70.000 pharmacies to help you find better prices. Visit: goodrx.com for more information.
- InsideRx: this search engine helps you find savings. The InsideRx card cannot be used with Medicare, Medicaid or other federally funded programs. Visit: insiderx.com for more information.
Glucose monitoring supplies:
Review the formulary for monitoring supplies. Glucose meters, strips, and lancets can be expensive. You could consider a subscription service for your supplies. There are a few companies offering supplies for a fixed monthly rate. Here are some:
Other resources where you can find information that may help you find ways to better afford your diabetes treatment:
Although this content is reviewed by Joslin Diabetes Center healthcare professionals, it is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.