AskNadia: I Need Free or Inexpensive Insulin

I receive many emails from people asking me to help them get access to insulin. This column is for you, the person and family member who has reached out to me for help in gaining access to free or affordable insulin.

Dear PWD:

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to good health insurance. For some, having a CGM or insulin pump may be like reaching for the moon. The pure desire to meet your daily insulin requirement is scary, frustrating and can make you angry; feeling beholden to a system you do not have control over. The rapid and long-acting designer insulins that come with a higher price tag is not an option for you.

The unfortunate circumstance of losing health care benefits as a result of a lack in employment, an increase in medical expenses exhausting your health savings insurance (HAS) account or family obligations forcing you to choose between taking care of yourself or your family member is the predicament that makes taking care of your diabetes impossible.

What seems like a human right, especially in Western society, is out of reach for some. The cost and weight of carrying health insurance with minimal benefits and no pharmacy benefits are discouraging.

I pay 653 dollars a month for health insurance with a $6,500 deductible and not pharmacy benefits. If I need a prescription- I don’t use my plan, I go to Costco or Walmart to pick up my medication.
I started doing this ten years ago, realizing that the eye care and pharmacy benefits were more expensive with my plan. To be resourceful, I picked Costco and Walmart to minimize my cost.

There is Hope

If you do not have health insurance, chances are you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. The insulin companies do offer financial help to people that need insulin.

Insulin

Eli Lilly

Lilly Cares is a program that provides Free Lilly medications to patients via their healthcare provider’s office. A variety of drugs are available for coverage if specific eligibility criteria are met, but for people with diabetes, insulin medications like Humalog U100, Humalog U200, Humalog Mix 50/50, and Humalog Mix 75/25 will be of greatest interest.

Eligibility Requirements:

To receive prescription assistance for insulin through the Lilly Cares program, you need to meet the following criteria:

• a permanent and legal resident of the United States
• must have no prescription drug coverage or enrolled in Medicare Part D
• If enrolled in Medicare Part D, applicants must have spent a minimum of $1,100 on medication for the calendar year.
• have a valid prescription for a drug available through the Lilly Cares program
• meet income guidelines (ex. Maximum household income of $72,750 for a family of four)

Novo Nordisk

The NovoLog Patient Assistance Program helps to make prescriptions affordable for people who may have trouble paying for them. The program is free for qualified individuals, and there is no monthly fee or registration charge for participating.

Eligibility Requirements:

To receive prescription assistance for insulin through the NovoLog Patient Assistance Program, you need to meet the following criteria:

• a permanent and legal resident of the United States
Cannot be enrolled in a government-sponsored program, including Medicaid or Medicare.
o An exception would be people who have Medicare Part D and are stuck in the donut hole.
• not eligible for VA prescription drug benefits
• not enrolled in a private prescription drug program, including a PPO or HMO
• meet income guidelines in which the total household income is at or below 200% of the U.S. federal poverty level.

To apply, you’ll need to visit the NovoLog website to download the application, complete your portion, and make copies of your proof of income. Your healthcare provider will then need to complete his/her part before faxing or mailing the application to Novo Nordisk’s Somerville office.

Sanofi Aventis

Sanofi Patient Connection offer help to make prescriptions affordable for people who may have trouble paying for them. The program is free for qualified individuals, and there is no monthly fee or registration charge for participating.

Eligibility Requirements:

To receive prescription assistance for insulin through the Sanofi Patient Connection, you need to meet the following criteria:

• a permanent and legal resident of the United States
• work with a U.S. healthcare professional who is licensed to prescribe
• must have no insurance prescription drug coverage
Must not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Medicare Part D may offer eligibility
• must meet income guidelines (ex. Maximum household income of $72,750 for a family of four)

I hope you can use these resources to acquire insulin and achieve your A1c or blood sugar target.

Wishing the best in health!

Nadia

Disclaimer:

Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

AskNadia and receive her unique perspective on your question.

 My Story

About Nadia:

Nadia was recently nominated by WeGoHealth.Com for their  “Health Activist Award”  in the category of “Advocating for Another”

AskNadia (ranked #1 by Google), named “Best Diabetes Blog for 2017 by Healthline and one of the top 50 diabetes influencer’s blog that is a must follow, and with 23 nominations, Nadia Al-Samarrie’s efforts have made her stand out as a pioneer and leading patient advocate in the diabetes community.

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Landers advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News, Phili.com, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.