WESTERN ILLINOIS — With the new Illinois law in effect to cap insurance copays at $100 for a 30-day supply of insulin, there are still other options for those who may find the $100 monthly cap a little steep for their budget.
Illinois is the second state in the nation and the first in the Midwest to pass such a bill addressing the high cost of insulin. There are eight other states currently considering such legislation. Those states include Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The hormone insulin is needed by some diabetics to control blood sugar levels and avoid serious, often life threatening, complications.
As State Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, notes, there are those who have high deductibles and those who do not have health insurance. The new state law may have little benefit for those with high deductibles and no impact on those without insurance.
“In all forms, diabetes and its treatments can be difficult. For those with insurance plans that have high deductibles, and for those who do not have insurance, it can be very difficult to afford insulin and other treatments,” said Tracy. “However, Eli Lilly & Company is providing some options.”
Lilly Chairman and CEO Dave Ricks wrote in an open letter to the public released in December: "We've heard too many stories about people with diabetes who struggle to afford their insulin. That needs to change. You should not have to ration your treatment, and you should not have to choose between insulin and putting food on the table. Your health is too important."
Lilly Senior Vice President of Connected Care and Insulins Mike Mason stated on the company’s website that the solution center representatives do not require paperwork to be filled out, and calls are short.
"We've been able to provide solutions for tens of thousands of people who need help. And while we've communicated the Solution Center as a resource in many ways, some people, unfortunately, are still not aware of the options we offer," Mason said. "People without insurance are particularly vulnerable because they are not in the system at pharmacies. We hope this campaign provides more visibility to the resources available for people.”
There are three insulin manufacturers serving the U.S. pharmaceutical market. Lilly is joined by Novo Nordisk and Sanofi.
In response to mounting legislative and public criticism surrounding the price of insulin, manufacturers have launched programs such as discount or coupon cards for those who apply directly to the manufacturers for them. In the case of Lilly, the company has formed the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center. Applicants are evaluated for personal circumstances to see what cost assistance can be provided. The Lilly solution center can be contacted by phone at 833-808-1234 or online at LillyDiabetes.com.
Novo Nordisk launched its insulin programs on Jan. 2. That company tout a patient assistance program where some individuals may qualify for free medicines based on income level and other criteria. Novo Nordisk also touts having insulin at $25 per vial at pharmacies such as CVS and Walmart. There are also copay savings cards to reduce costs for those with insurance. A program for eligible patients both with and without insurance is the My$99Insulin program, which requires online enrollment. A card is received online, and it can be taken with a prescription to the pharmacy. The $99 applies to up to three vials or two packs of Nordisk’s FlexPen, FlexTouch and PenFill insulin brands.
These and other Nordisk options can be found online at NovoCare.com r by calling 844-668-6463.
Sanofi in 2018 launched the Insulins Valyou Savings Program to provide a $99 cost to access up to 10 boxes of pens or 10mL (milliliter) vials per month.
"It is unacceptable to Sanofi that some people living with diabetes are struggling to pay for their insulin, so we have moved to act creatively and aggressively to help address affordability and access needs," said Michelle Carnahan, head of North America Primary Care at Sanofi in a statement on the company site. "By giving those who require both long-acting and/or mealtime insulins or use more than one box of pens or one vial per month access to their insulins for one flat price, we aim to help limit the burden on the individuals who have high out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter."
It should be noted that according to Sanofi, government regulations do not allow programs such as Insulins Valyou Savings to be applied to individuals wishing to use Medicare, Medicaid and certain other state and federal programs to pay for the drugs. Payments must be made in cash. When Sanofi first launched its program, cash payments were set at $99 for one 10mL vial or $149 for a box of pens. Now up to 10 boxes of pens or one 10mL vial costs $99 per month.
Qualified low-income patients with diabetes may also qualify for other assistance including copay cards for those wishing to use their insurance. The Sanofi Patient Connections program also helps low-income patients without insurance. For information on the Insulins Valyou Savings program, go online to InsulinsValyou.com. For information about the Sanofi Patient Connection program, call 888-847-4877.
For questions or comments, email email@example.com.