How to Get Insulin When You Can’t Afford It: Six Ideas

| 5 min read Financial Assistance

For the roughly 30 million US people with diabetes, forgoing insulin isn’t an option. As the price of insulin continues to climb, people who depend on lifesaving medicine are left in a difficult financial situation. If you need help understanding how to get insulin if you can’t afford it, this article lists six ideas to try.

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What is the cost of diabetes?

The economic diabetes cost is staggering. According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes also have health care costs that are over two times greater than people without diabetes. Diabetes costs in the US total 327 billion each year.

How much is insulin?

Insulin is the medicine that’s key in helping people with Type 1 diabetes stay healthy and regulate their blood sugar. Many people with Type 2 diabetes also rely on insulin every day.

In 2016, a person with Type 1 diabetes paid an annual cost of $5,705 for insulin, according to a report by the Health Cost Institute. If you’re wondering, “Why does insulin cost so much?” the answer is often not as clear as we might hope. According to the report, the rising costs are due to newer insulin products and higher costs set by pharmaceutical drug companies.

Six ways to pay for insulin

Many Americans fall into medical bankruptcy trying to pay for insulin, while others ration their supply or try to buy it in other countries. Here are six ways to find financial assistance for insulin when you need it most:

1.  Explore programs that offer financial assistance for insulin

If you need to know how to get insulin without insurance, there are plenty of programs that are set up to offer financial aid for diabetics or help pay medical bills. The following programs can help if you don’t know how to pay for insulin:

2. Share your concerns with your doctor

It may be helpful to make an appointment with your doctor to review your options. Your doctor or medical team may have untapped resources or help you form a short-term plan on how to afford insulin. No one should have to struggle to get the medicine they need to live, and most health care professionals will be able to provide you with insulin samples if you’re close to running out.

3. Review your insurance policy

If you’re insured, it’s important to understand your coverage. There may be cheaper generic options that have a smaller price tag than name brand insulin formulas. By reviewing your policy, you can also ensure that you’re filling your prescription at a pharmacy on your plan.

4. Consider cheaper insulin

While not ideal for everyone, switching to cheaper insulin may be an option. Analogue or “designer” insulin is typically longer lasting, and therefore more expensive than human insulin. Human insulin is injected with a needle and syringe and requires more specific timing. You can speak with your doctor about what type of insulin is best for you. As another alternative, the Diabetes Council found that Walmart produces its own insulin for about $25 per vial.

5. Look for assistance from pharmaceutical companies

This option may be surprising to some, but most pharmaceutical drug companies have a patient assistance program for those who can’t afford medication. Some even offer discounts for paying in cash. Check the Medicare website for information on finding and taking advantage of these programs.

6. Start an online fundraiser for insulin

Countless individuals use crowdfunding when their health insurance coverage isn’t enough, or when they find themselves uninsured. Through online fundraising, you can easily connect with your network of friends and family members to find both financial and emotional support. Asking for help can be tough, but it’s important to remember that your cause is worthy of support, and those close to you do want to lend a hand.

People who used crowdfunding to pay for insulin

Insulin pump to pump my life

Dania was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old. That day, her whole life changed. Taking up to five shots of insulin each day became her regular routine, but as she moved into adulthood, it became more difficult to time her shots around her busy work schedule. So she started an online fundraiser to buy an insulin pump. Thanks to the generosity of donors, Dania was able to raise over $2,500 to meet her goal.

Insulin for my Type 1 diabetic mom

Heather’s mom has lived with diabetes her entire life. But recently, her insurance company began charging her over $2,000 for a 90-day supply of insulin. When Heather’s mom began rationing her insulin because of financial struggles, Heather knew she had to find a way to help. She launched an online fundraiser and was able to raise over $3,600 for her mom.

Find a way to pay for insulin today

If you can’t afford insulin, there’s still hope. While many people can’t wait to be accepted into financial assistance programs, you can start a fundraiser and begin raising money right away for any out of pocket medical expenses you encounter. Our fundraising platform means that you can keep more of the funds you raise, and our blog offers a medical crowdfunding guide to help along the way. Sign up today and get the help you need to pay for insulin.

Start a medical fundraiser