In recent years, the rising cost of insulin has posed a significant challenge for individuals managing diabetes. Many people struggle to afford this lifesaving medication, leading to detrimental consequences. In this article, we will explore various resources and strategies that can help alleviate the financial burden associated with insulin expenses. Specifically, we will focus on the Novo Nordisk patient assistance program and other avenues for obtaining affordable insulin.
Understanding the Rising Insulin Costs
Insulin prices in the United States have witnessed a steady increase since the 1990s. Between 2012 and 2016, the cost of insulin rose by an alarming 20.7 percent annually. While the rate of increase has slowed down in recent years, insulin expenses continue to escalate. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 39 percent of respondents reported a surge in insulin prices between 2017 and 2018. This escalating trend underscores the pressing need for accessible and affordable insulin.
Novo Nordisk Patient Assistance Program
Novo Nordisk, one of the major insulin manufacturers in the United States, offers a patient assistance program to support individuals with limited financial resources. This program aims to provide relief to Medicare enrollees and uninsured individuals with an income at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Participants in the program are eligible to receive up to 90 days of free Novo Nordisk insulin. Additionally, the program offers discounted prices for Novo Nordisk insulin beyond the initial 90-day period, thereby ensuring continued affordability.
Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs
Apart from Novo Nordisk, other insulin manufacturers such as Eli Lilly and Sanofi also provide pharmaceutical assistance programs to assist individuals in affording their insulin. The Lilly Cares Foundation Patient Assistance Program, for example, offers free Eli Lilly insulin products to individuals with a limited income and either Medicare Part D coverage or no insurance. Similarly, the Sanofi Patient Assistance Connection provides free Sanofi insulin products to those with an income at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. These programs require annual reapplication and have specific eligibility criteria based on income and insurance status.
Copay Coupons and Drug Cards
Insulin manufacturers also offer copay savings cards, which can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses for individuals purchasing insulin. Unlike patient assistance programs, copay savings cards are not income-dependent and are available to anyone regardless of their financial situation. Novo Nordisk provides a savings card that lowers copayments to as low as $5-$25, depending on the prescribed insulin. Eli Lilly offers the insulin value program, enabling individuals to access most Eli Lilly insulin products for $35 per month, irrespective of income. Sanofi offers a copay savings card for individuals with insurance, reducing copayments to $0-$10. Those without insurance can join the Valyou Savings Program, which allows them to purchase Sanofi insulin for $99 per month.
Program Matching Services
Several program matching services are available to connect individuals with insulin assistance programs that suit their specific needs. These services, although not direct sources of aid, facilitate access to resources that offer free or low-cost insulin. Platforms such as GetInsulin.org, the Medicine Assistance Tool (MAT), NeedyMeds, RxAssist, and RxHope employ algorithms to match individuals with relevant programs based on their prescription, income, insurance information, and location. These services streamline the process of finding suitable assistance programs and ensure better accessibility for those in need.
Coupon sites can be valuable tools for obtaining discounted insulin prices. These platforms allow individuals to access coupons or discount cards, significantly reducing the overall cost of insulin. By using coupon sites, individuals can compare prices and find the best available deals for their prescribed insulin. Popular coupon sites such as Blink Health, GoodRx, Inside Rx, and SingleCare offer a range of discounts and convenient ways to access affordable insulin. Users can present coupons digitally or in print at the pharmacy to avail themselves of the reduced prices.
Certain states offer pharmaceutical assistance programs that cater to individuals with limited incomes, ensuring affordable access to various medications, including insulin. These state-specific programs have varying eligibility criteria, and individuals can check the Medicare website to determine if their state offers such assistance. By leveraging these programs, individuals can overcome financial barriers and procure the insulin they need to manage their diabetes effectively.
Other Strategies to Save
In addition to the aforementioned resources, there are alternative methods to save money on insulin expenses:
- Walmart’s ReliOn Insulin: Walmart offers over-the-counter insulin for $25 per vial. This option entails using an older form of insulin known as synthetic human insulin, which requires adherence to a strict eating schedule. Consulting with a healthcare professional before switching to this option is advisable.
- Community Health Centers: Community health centers often provide sliding scale options for affordable insulin. Utilizing an interactive map, individuals can locate nearby community health centers that offer cost-effective insulin solutions.
- Pharmacy Loyalty Programs: Local pharmacy loyalty programs frequently offer savings and discounts on prescriptions, including insulin.
- Insurance Coverage: Contacting your insurance company to determine their preferred insulin can lead to potential cost savings. Switching to the preferred insulin may result in reduced expenses.
- Consulting a Doctor: In emergency situations, doctors may be able to provide temporary supplies of insulin. Additionally, they can suggest lower-cost insulin options to alleviate financial burdens.
The Risks of Buying Insulin Online
While it may be tempting to seek discounted insulin from online marketplaces or sellers, it is crucial to exercise caution. Buying insulin from unverified sources can lead to serious health risks, including mislabeled, tampered, or expired products. To ensure safety and quality, it is recommended to obtain insulin from reputable sources such as pharmacies or doctor’s offices.
Legislative Efforts and the Future
Multiple legislative initiatives are underway to address the soaring cost of insulin. Lawmakers and advocacy groups are actively working to improve insulin affordability. The ADA has endorsed potential legislation such as the Insulin Price Reduction Act, the Safe Step Act, and the Chronic Condition Copay Elimination Act. These proposed acts aim to incentivize manufacturers to lower insulin prices, eliminate insurance company “step therapy” programs, and remove copays for medications used to treat chronic conditions like diabetes. While the passage of these acts is not guaranteed, they represent important steps toward reducing insulin costs. Furthermore, broader healthcare laws and initiatives targeting the affordability of care in the United States may indirectly impact insulin expenses.
The rising cost of insulin poses significant challenges for individuals managing diabetes. However, numerous resources and strategies are available to alleviate the financial burden. The Novo Nordisk patient assistance program, along with pharmaceutical assistance programs, copay coupons, program matching services, and government initiatives, offer tangible solutions for obtaining affordable insulin. Additionally, various alternative methods, such as Walmart’s ReliOn Insulin, community health centers, pharmacy loyalty programs, insurance coverage, and consulting with healthcare professionals, can contribute to cost savings. By leveraging these resources and exploring legislative efforts, individuals can gain better access to affordable insulin, ensuring effective diabetes management without financial hardship.