6 Ways to Save Money on Insulin

Diabetes care can get expensive. But you shouldn’t skip doses of insulin to save money. That can be dangerous. There are lots of ways you can get help to pay for your medicine. Use these tips to help you get started.

Check With Your Health Insurer

A different brand of insulin may cost less. Ask your insurance provider for their formulary. That’s the list of preferred drugs they’ll cover. Find out how much the copay is for each brand of insulin. If one is cheaper than another, ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to switch.

If you have Medicaid, your doctor may need to take an extra step each year to get your medicine covered. That’s called prior authorization. It tells your insurance provider why you need a specific insulin.

Ask Your Doctor

It’s important to bring up money issues with your health care team. Reach out to anyone you feel comfortable with. That includes a doctor, diabetes educator, pharmacist, or nurse. At your next appointment, here are some questions you can ask:

  • Are there any samples I can have today?
  • Is there a generic option I can take?
  • Is there an older, cheaper option?
  • Should I try human insulin?

Compare Prices

Shop around. Physical and online drugstores sell insulin at different prices. There are websites or apps that help make comparison shopping easier. You may even find some coupons when you search.

Find a Drug Discount Program

You probably can’t apply these savings on top of your insurance. But your insulin could end up costing less if you use a discount program alone. Here are some resources that may help you save:

  • Benefits Check Up is part of the National Council on Aging. If you’re a senior, you can apply to save money on medication and other health care costs. That includes deductibles and copays.
  • Needy Meds is a nonprofit that’ll help you find ways to pay for all parts of your health care. They’ll connect you with low-cost or free drug programs or clinics.
  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance will help you cover insulin costs if you don’t have any health insurance.

Many programs offer coupons, discount cards, or lower online prices with home delivery.

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Call the Drug Company

Insulin makers will work with you to save on supplies. The amount of financial help you get depends on a few things. That includes how much money you make and whether you have private, government, or no health insurance.

If you don’t know who makes your insulin, ask your doctor or pharmacist. You can also check for their logo on your vial or pen.

If you have private health insurance, ask your manufacturer if they have a copay card. You can use it for discounts at your pharmacy.

If you have little or no health insurance, you can apply for a patient assistance program (PAP).

You can call or visit their website.

Search Local Resources

There may be low or no-cost insulin options in your area. To find a health center near you, search the “Find a Clinic” option on the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics website. You can also check FindaHealthCenter.hrsa.gov.

What Not to Do

You might get really sick if you don’t take your medicine the right way. You could end up in the hospital or with other costly health problems. When trying to save money on insulin:

  • Don’t take less insulin than prescribed.
  • Don’t skip doses.
  • Don’t delay your refills.
  • Don’t share insulin pens or fingerstick devices.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on May 11, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Joslin Diabetes Center: “Managing the Cost of Insulin.”

American Diabetes Association: “Help With Insulin Is A Phone Call Away.”

CDC: “Diabetes: How to Save Money on Diabetes Care.”

Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists: “Insulin Cost-Saving Resource Guide.”

Wisconsin Department of Health Services: “Hypoglycemics, Insulin — Long-Acting.”

Health Education & Behavior: “Solutions to Address Diabetes-Related Financial Burden and Cost-Related Nonadherence: Results From a Pilot Study.”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Financial Help for Diabetes Care.”

Benefits Check Up: “Learn More About Benefits.”

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