Insulin is so expensive and required for people with type 1 diabetes. Skipping insulin isn’t an option. Insulin pricing and gouging has been in the news recently. Many people pay high dollar even with insurance. Our cost with insurance is about $100 a vial and between the two kids they use 5 vials a month. That’s insane!
Here’s some ideas on how to save on insulin, including some we have personally done.
30 day versus 90 days
- Many plans have a 90 day discount rate. A 90 day prescription means you get 90 days worth of medicine instead of the one month supply. Usually these are mail order, but some retail pharmacies can also do 90 days.
- Call your insurance or log in online and see if your price is better with a 90 day prescription.
- Many people are concerned with insulin being shipped and the temperature. When we have done mail order, the insulin comes in a cooler with an ice pack and has been cold when received.
- A formulary is a preferred list of drugs from the insurance carriers. Each year these lists can change. Check each year and see which brands are preferred. The brands are similar enough that they can be exchanged.
- So for example, Humalog may be covered at the preferred rate. So if you take a prescription for Novolog to the pharmacy, you will pay a higher amount or it may not be covered at all.
- Ask your pharmacist if you need help. They are great at knowing what your prescription needs to be to be in order to be covered at the best rate.
Coupons and CoPay Cards
- Most insulin manufactors have some type of copay card.
- Humalog has a coupon for a free vial, as well as free glucagon.
- Novolog has a $25 coupon card.
- Apidra was free for a while, but has a coupon card now.
- Ask your doctor’s nurse for a coupon card or go online to the drug companies and download a coupon card.
Check each year
- Each year the preferred brand may change.
- Make sure to call your insurance carrier or look online at the preferred formulary chart.
- Most doctor’s offices have samples, though the amount of samples have recently dramatically decreased so they may not be able to give you much.
- If you are in a pinch, call your doctor to ask for a sample.
- Same for meters, always ask your doctor for a free meter rather than buying a new meter. They have lots of meters.
Apply for a grant from United Healthcare Children’s Foundation
- UHC Children’s Foundation has a grant for children less than 16 years old who qualify to receive financial assistance for medical expenses.
- Go to the UHCCF website to see if your child can qualify.
- Both of my children qualified at one point for this grant and it was truly a blessing for our family.
Generic as a last resort.
- If you have tried all of the above and still cannot afford your insulin prices, ask your doctor about generic insulins.
- Generic insulins are the old NPH and Regular insulins.
- They have very different action times and spike times.
- Be sure you understand how these insulins work to reduce hypoglycemic reactions.
- If regular insulin is in an insulin pump, the active insulin needs to be changed. Regular insulin lasts longer than quick acting insulin. Not changing the active insulin/insulin duration time can result in hypoglycemia.
I hope this gives you some ways to reduce your cost of insulin. Here’s another post on how to save money on diabetes supplies.