Diabetes can be expensive. Like REALLY expensive. Especially if you have a crappy insurance or no insurance at all. And it’s not just the insulin (which is the 6th most expensive liquid on earth at $9,400/per gallon) that’s expensive, it’s also the needles, lancets, test strips, pump sites, cgm sites, and endo visits. How to pay for diabetes without insurance (or crappy insurance) is an issue that many of us diabetics face. Thankfully, there are some ways to soften the blow and make diabetes more affordable.
Here are some ways to pay for diabetes without insurance…
1. Buy your meter and test strips off Amazon
The Contour Next meter is $11 and its test strips are just $63 for 300 strips. This is no knock off meter either… The Contour Next meter has been rated the #1 most accurate meter on the market (see the comparison here); beating out the popular One Touch and ReliOn Meters.
The benefit of this (other than the low cost and incredible accuracy!) is that you don’t go through insurance, meaning no prescriptions, no prior auths, and no monthly limits. You can order 2 boxes or 200! The power is in YOUR hands.
2. Eat Low Carb/Lower Your Insulin Resistance
The less insulin your body requires the less insulin you need to buy. Check out my post on some great ways to lower your insulin resistance and increase your insulin sensitivity.
3. Samples from the Doctors Office
Doctors offices, especially endocrinologists, get tons of samples every month. Whether it’s meters, or test strips, lancets, or insulin, if you’re in a pinch it’s worth calling to asking your doctor for samples to get by until you can get what you need.
4. Prescription Assistance Programs
- Blink Health: Eli Lilly offers an assistance program called Blink Health that provides insulins at 40% OFF.
- Lilly Cares: Eli Lilly offers FREE insulin to those who are a legal US resident, have a household income under the annual income limit, and who are not enrolled in a government health care plan.
- Lilly Copay Savings Cards: Eli Lilly offers multiple savings on insulins to help you reduce your copay at the pharmacy. Each savings is different based on the particular insulin.
- Novo Nordisk offers two prescription assistance programs; one for those insured (offering insulin at a fee of $25) and one for those not insured (offering FREE insulin).
- Sanofi offers their Patient Connection Program to those without insurance. They provide FREE insulin to those that meet the requirements.
- Sanofi Copay Savings Cards Sanofi offers multiple savings on insulins to help you reduce your copay at the pharmacy. Each savings is different based on the particular insulin.
Learn more about these programs & savings card here.
…and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to prescription assistance programs. To see if you qualify for a VARIETY of prescription assistance programs, you can search through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance.
5. Buy Insulin at Walmart
Walmart sells the old school insulin, NPH (N) and Regular (R) at a very affordable cost. It’s not as great or fast acting as the newer insulins like Novolog or Humalog, but it’s insulin and it works and its cheap ($25-$40 per vial at Walmart). If you go this route, just know that you will have bigger swings, and it will take some adjusting. You may need to pre bolus twice as long and know that it will have a longer tail.
6. Pay it Forward groups
These groups are becoming a thing of the past due to online trolls and scammers who buy the products then resell it at a much higher cost – making a profit for themselves. But there are still some great groups on Facebook and instagram out there. Pay it forward groups collect diabetes supplies & insulin from people who donate their surplus (because some people have really great insurance that gives them way more than they need). These groups then dish out said supplies to those in need at little or no cost.
7. Buy Insulin from Canada
Insulin from Canada is much cheaper than it is here in the USA. And it’s not an off-brand insulin that you’ve never heard of… It’s novolog, humalog, lantus, levemir, tresiba, etc. To order it, you place your order online through their website, upload your prescription, and they will ship it right to your door in the USA!
8. Other Programs Include…
- InsideRx is a savings program available to those without insurance, paying out of pocket for insulin.
- Medisense Meter donates free meters and test strips (800-527-3339)
- MedicAlert Foundation provides a MedicAlert membership and a MedicAlert ID for those unable to afford one (800) 432-5378
- Aventis donates Lantus insulin (800) 221-4025
- BD offers coupons for syringes, including a one time only coupon for a free box of syringes. Patients need to call and request coupons. (201) 847-6800
- Lifescan offers assistance with glucose monitor supplies. Call (800) 227-8862 or send an email to CustomerService@Lifescan.com
- Cr3 Diabetes
- Needy Meds
- Rx Assist
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Question of the Day
What are some of your favorite ways to save on diabetes costs?