How to Afford Insulin on Medicare

how to afford insulin on medicare
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If you need to take insulin and are on Medicare, you might be worried that you can’t afford it or you may have had issues affording it in the past. So, if you’ve been thinking about how to afford insulin on Medicare, there is good news for you.

how to afford insulin on medicare

How to Afford Insulin on Medicare

There are a number of ways to reduce the cost of insulin while on medicare, but before we get into them, there is good news.

1. New Medicare Cap for Insulin

Due to a new Medicare cap, you can now purchase a Part D plan that will cap your monthly insulin cost-sharing at $35 dollars. 

This new cap will go into effect in January of 2021.

It should be available in every state once it gets started.

Keep in mind, that you will have to sign up for this benefit as it is not automatic. 

Even so, it will greatly help you reduce your insulin costs. 

This cap applied to all coverage stages. 

What this means for you is that you will not have to pay the current large deductible or have to worry about the donut hole stage either. 

Regardless of whether you are in the pre-deductible, initial coverage, the donut hole, or the catastrophic stage of coverage, you will not have to pay more than $35 per month for your insulin.

This can be life-changing for many seniors on medicare.

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The one drawback is you do have to be 65 years old or older to be approved for this benefit.

If this new Medicare cap for insulin doesn’t apply to you, there are additional ways you can save money on your insulin.

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2. Patient Assistance Programs

Most drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs to those who are having difficulty paying for their medicine.

This includes insulin.

You can find an assistance program by searching with the drug name here on the Medicare database.

You can also find contact information for patient assistance programs at The American Diabetes Association. 

These resources will also provide information on what you need to do to apply and what the requirements are to be approved.

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3. Ask Your Doctor About Using Human Insulin

It used to be that everyone used human insulin. That was all that was available.

You can still use it today and it is much less expensive than the more modern options such as insulin pens or pumps.

Chances are you know someone that used to give themself shots using a syringe and needle.

I know that my aunt used to do this every day.

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It is a little more painful, but not really all that bad, but you will need to have a healthcare provider show you how to give yourself shots, but it will save you a considerable amount of money.

For example, a vial of insulin that you would administer with a syringe costs around $191 dollars which comes out to 19 cents per unit.

On the other hand, a pen of insulin costs approximately $358 dollars per pin or 24 cents per unit.

Finally, a computerized pump is around $6,000 dollars for the pump with another $1,500 dollars in supplies as well as the cost of insulin. 

If this is something you want to consider, be sure to talk to your doctor about it and see what they have to say.

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4. Talk to Your Doctor

If you are having trouble paying for your insulin, be sure to talk to your doctor and let them know.

There might be other options that will work for you.

Your doctor might also be able to prescribe a less expensive drug. 

Don’t be afraid to speak up and be an advocate for your health. 

The last thing you want is to skip doses because you can’t afford your insulin. Doing so can lead to serious and even deadly outcomes.

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5. Buy Your Insulin in Canada

While this option isn’t for everyone, if you do live near the Canadian border, you should consider taking a drive up to a pharmacy up there.

You can get the exact same medication for less money.

Just know that you can’t get more than a three-month supply.

If you stay under that limit you should be fine.

Before you go, be sure to find and call the pharmacy you want to go to, so you can ensure you have everything you need to get your prescription filled.

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To Sum it All Up:

Insulin is expensive. In fact, insulin prices are a crisis in the United States. For seniors and those on Medicare, the costs are even worse and it seems that paying for your insulin becomes more difficult with each passing day.

The good news is there are options to reduce your insulin costs. The new Medicare cap for insulin will help those over the age of 65. You can also consider using human insulin or look for a patient assistance program. 



Disclaimer: This article is not intended as medical advice. You should always talk to your doctor before making any decisions about your medical treatment or medications. That includes making any changes in treatment or medications. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.

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