Help paying for insulin.
June 1, 2006 10:50 AM   Subscribe

How can we pay for insulin without insurance? Aside from getting a credit card, are there any other ways? Cheap short term insurance (yeah, but for diabetics?) Or should we write a letter to the State ombudsman to try and get welfare-type insurance?
posted by shipbreaker to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
More information would be helpful. What state are you in? Have you paid for insulin before -- in other words, were you previously insured when you got the diagnosis? Or is this a brand-new diagnosis of diabetes (and is it for for you, a spouse, or a child)?
posted by scody at 11:05 AM on June 1, 2006

I believe cash is usually accepted at pharmacies.

What's the question here?
posted by jellicle at 11:07 AM on June 1, 2006

we live in minnesota
have insurance now through work
but will be forced to quit soon
so need several months of insurance.
MinnesotaCare needs 4 months with out insurance
and Hennepin Cty has a salary gap we make just enough money for rent and things, make too much for insurance not enough for insulin out of pocket.
posted by shipbreaker at 11:09 AM on June 1, 2006

Contact your congressperson. They usually have an ombudsman who is familiar with the social service network system. A free clinic might work. Drug companies sometimes have a free pill service -- probably doesn't extend to insulin but if an oral antidiabetic can be substituted in your case, it might work for you.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:21 AM on June 1, 2006

you might be eligible for COBRA, which is basically the option to extend your employer insurance at full cost to you -- you will have to check with your HR department at work to see if it's an option and (if so) how much it will cost. It's usually not cheap (you assume the full cost of your monthly premium), so be forewarned. There have been numerous questions about COBRA on AskMe that can give you more info (as well as some info about temporary plans, etc.).

Do you have another job (with insurance) lined up -- in other words, do you only need coverage for a few months? If so, your best bet may be to take COBRA ifyou can, no matter the cost (can you put it on a credit card?), so that you don't have more than a 63-day gap in coverage when you become eligible for insurance at your new job. This is extremely important cecause if you do have more than a 63-day gap in medical coverage, the new health insurer through your new employer is legally allowed to decline to cover any treatment or prescriptions for any pre-existing conditions for a certain length of time (12 months isn't unusual).
posted by scody at 11:28 AM on June 1, 2006

See if you can find a community services or family assistance organization of some kind. Make a bunch of phone calls and ask each person who says "no" for another lead. Down here in Rochester we have Family Services who interact with the various charities in town and the Mayo Clinic.

Needing insulin is a pretty life-or-death situation, if you are persistent enough there should be a community group in the twin cities area that can help you.

If you can get assigned a social worker see if MinnesotaCare will waive the 4 month requirement for you. From my experience of dealing with MC they would probably be more keen on helping someone who is only going to need thier services for a few months, and is willing and capable of getting back on thier feet again.

To repeat: when dealing with public welfare agencies be polite but persistent. Good luck!
posted by jennaba at 11:31 AM on June 1, 2006

In Minnesota, Senator Mark Dayton is well-known for helping people pay for their drugs. He donates his Senate salary to fund bus trips for seniors to buy their drugs in Canada. Try his health care helpline 1-866-296-4319. If they can't help you directly, they may be able to direct you to someone who can.
You can also call the United Way 211 helpline. They may have ideas for you, too.
posted by Coffeemate at 11:54 AM on June 1, 2006

There are a few listings for "insulin" (and it appears to be injectable insulin) at, which is a clearinghouse for patient-assistance programs (like what dances_with_sneetches mentioned).
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:13 PM on June 1, 2006

Cobra would work; a community health clinic should be able to help you provide medications at low- or no-cost.
posted by gramcracker at 1:18 PM on June 1, 2006

What kind of insulin are you taking? And how much? You might consider switching to a cheaper kind. You can get 100ml of humulin for about $30 out of pocket, and that will last most diabetics about a month. You'll end up paying more than that for insurance, though insurance is definitely preferable should you have any medical problems.
posted by scottreynen at 1:29 PM on June 1, 2006

New complications, I mean. Obviously diabetes is already a medical problem.
posted by scottreynen at 1:31 PM on June 1, 2006

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