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New Member
jam65613
Total Posts: 1
Registered on: ‎06-07-2012

Lowest cash cost insulin / over the counter?

I'm on a high deductible health insurance plan and don't have prescription coverage until I reach my deductible.  I am currently taking Lantus and Novolog but at about $125/vial they are putting a big strain on my budget.  I have heard/read that Walmart may have a lower cost insulin but the pharmacist at my local Walmart won't answer my questions about lower cost insulins.  He just tells me to talk to my doctor.  I'm sure I could adjust to using just one type of insulin if necessary but need to know what type of insulin to talk to my doctor about.  Can anyone give my any suggestions.  I live near Springfield Missouri.  I don't think that you can get insulin over the counter in Missouri but I'm not sure about that?

lizzylou
Total Posts: 13,634
Topics: 552
High Fives: 1,842
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Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: Lowest cash cost insulin / over the counter?


jam65613 wrote:

I'm on a high deductible health insurance plan and don't have prescription coverage until I reach my deductible.  I am currently taking Lantus and Novolog but at about $125/vial they are putting a big strain on my budget.  I have heard/read that Walmart may have a lower cost insulin but the pharmacist at my local Walmart won't answer my questions about lower cost insulins.  He just tells me to talk to my doctor.  I'm sure I could adjust to using just one type of insulin if necessary but need to know what type of insulin to talk to my doctor about.  Can anyone give my any suggestions.  I live near Springfield Missouri.  I don't think that you can get insulin over the counter in Missouri but I'm not sure about that?


Hi Jam,

 

Walmart has lower cost insulin, but not the type you use.  They have regular and NPH insulin for about $25-$30 a vial.  The NPH is much different from the brands you use, and there are no discount rapid insulins available.

 

You can look at the link about discount medications and products for more information. 

 

Lizzy

Knowledge is Power!





Here's some useful links, click on the titles


Testing 101
 
 All About Carbs

Resources For The Un-insured and Discount Medicine and Equipment

LizzyLou Videos



Lizzy's Blog
for lots more  


Responder
pill_lady
Total Posts: 40
Registered on: ‎07-31-2011

Re: Lowest cash cost insulin / over the counter?

There are some older insulins available over the counter and they may be some cheaper for you. BUT they are VERY different from what you are doing now and will require your MD's supervision to change. Also please consider that they are older and not used freuqently anymore for many reasons and you will find them much more difficult to "use" and live your life around their action . Read some posts here about "the way it used to be" in diabetes care. Please consider your health first, you will probably find it is best to stick with what you are doing. There is information on this site about financial assistance programs as well.

Diagnosed 1995 T2 Various oral meds,diet, carb restrict
Sept 2011 - Novolog- MDI, Actos, Amaryl
April 2013 - Pumping -Accuchek Spirit Combo, Actos
11/11 A1c 6.0
5/12 A1c 5.6
9/12 A1c 5.6
3/13 A1c 6.1
7/13 A1c 6.4
11/13 A1c 5.5
mollythed
Total Posts: 5,323
Topics: 73
High Fives: 799
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Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: Lowest cash cost insulin / over the counter?

Just very briefly, here is the difficulty in using Regular and NPH insulin.  Each kind of insulin is designed to have its own length of time until the onset of its activity, it's time of peak activity, and a duration of time until its activity is done.

 

This chart is a sort of simplified description of how different kinds of insuin work.

 

Comparing of Different Insulins

 

Novolog is a rapid acting insulin

Lantus is long acting

 

You can see that with Novolog, it begins to go to work almost as soon as the food it is supposed to cover, and then fades away within about four hours.  Meanwhile, the Lantus has a slow, steady effect over a whole day for most people, so it works well to take care of the blood glucose that comes from your liver in a slow steady stream over the entire day.

 

Regular is a short acting insulin

NPH has an intermediate action.

 

It's pretty complicated to get anything like the same effect with Regular and NPH.  For one thing, it takes a lot longer after injecting to get to the point where the Regular insulin begins to be effective, and even long until it reaches its peak. You can't just inject and eat.  You have to plan ahead, inject, and then wait a while for the Regular to be available before you can start to eat.  Once that time comes, you MUST eat or you will go low. You have to plan your schedule to fit the action of the insulin instead of taking the insulin whenever you happen to want to eat.  Then you have to figure when to fill in with the NPH, so that together, the NPH and Regular can do the background job that is now handled by your Lantus.  The overall effect will never be as smooth as Novolog and Lantus, but it will make do.  With time, you can figure out when to take snacks to help even out the effect of the those shorter acting insulins.

 

Nevertheless, it can be done.  People used to do it all the time back before the newer Novolog and Lantus became available, and some people still do it today because they have no alternative.  A few continue to use the older Regular and NPH because that is what they learned years ago, and they are more comfortable continuing with what they know than learning a whole new set of adjustments.

 

Keep in mind that if you can hang in there until you meet your deductible, you will have better coverage.  Your cost will be higher at first, but with the Lantus and Novolog combo, you will meet your deductible sooner.  You  pay the whole deductible, either way but you get to the better coverage sooner.  The challenge is to plan ahead so that you can make it through the deductible period each year.


"Molly"
Type 2 diabetes diagnosed in 1995, now managed with Lantus, Novolog and Metformin; diet and exercise.
My husband and three adult sons also have type 2 diabetes.





New Member
KevinHidden
Total Posts: 1
Registered on: ‎03-15-2013

Re: Lowest cash cost insulin / over the counter?

It is true that you should not change your insulin without the guidance of your Endo. However between the low cost 70/30,N, and R any type 1 should be able to survive and actually control their diabetes quite well. Testing is much more urgent on these types of insulin because of the danger of unexpected low blood sugar.  I have not had to go native on the test strips yet so I have no suggestions on those. I can not over stress the importance of FREQUENT testing when you are using a different Insulin.

lizzylou
Total Posts: 13,634
Topics: 552
High Fives: 1,842
Solutions: 137
Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: Lowest cash cost insulin / over the counter?

Folks this is a very old post from June of last year.

 

Just so you know.

 

Lizzy

Knowledge is Power!





Here's some useful links, click on the titles


Testing 101
 
 All About Carbs

Resources For The Un-insured and Discount Medicine and Equipment

LizzyLou Videos



Lizzy's Blog
for lots more  


New Member
zinataylor
Total Posts: 1
Registered on: ‎03-20-2013

Re: Lowest cash cost insulin / over the counter?

Hello, I am responding to your message about the insulin.  I am also on Lantus and humalog and both prescriptions are so very high.  Walmart has the 70/30 insulin at 24.88 per bottle.  I use to be on that particular insulin a few years ago.  Just to answer your question, yes walmart has over the counter insulin and its 70/30 for 24.88 per bottle.  I hope that I have been some help to you!!

 

Occasional Visitor
lleffler
Total Posts: 1
Registered on: ‎06-30-2013

Re: Lowest cash cost insulin / over the counter?

The chart is very informative.  However, the main point of the thread is missing.  Many people, myself included, are on high deductible plans because it is the only kind of insurance we can afford.  Deductibles in many cases cannot even be met, and care is often avoided due to the cost.

 

If cash is unavailable to pay for the high cost of lantus or novolog (or the like), then it is simply unaffordable from the get-go.  So, the only alternative is the lower cost medicine. 

 

Now all of this may change with the Affordable Care Act in 2014, but until then, people with limited means are stuck with the choices available.  If I wanted to get "good" insurance with a prescription health plan, the lowest cost plan would be over $700 per month (as opposed to the $160/mo for catastrophic insurance).  Considering my income is just over $1500 per month, and will be dropping about $130 in the next month, I see some extreme limitations.  I doubt I am the only one with such financial concerns.  Is catastrophic insurance worthless insurance.  Basically, yes, in my humble opinion.  But what it does give people with limited income is access.  So in the event of an emergency, you will be admitted into the hospital and treated.  And, you can at least communicate with your doctor via email which costs you nothing but an internet connection (but not a doctor's visit which runs $50 for the copay and another $70 for coinsurance).  So, I have arranged with my physician to work with me electronically at no additional cost.

 

So when you are suggesting that the deductible level would be met sooner with the high-cost insulin, that is assuming (falsely and incorrectly) that people are going to be able to meet that deductible in any event, and that the insurance they have is a "choice" and not due to a financial limitation.

 

I apologize in advance if my response is curt or brusque, but I think too many people misconstrue financial choices from financial limitations, and I just wanted to be clear that my understanding of this thread was that it initially began due to someone seeking pricing assistance due to financial limitations.

 

That said, I would suggest to anyone with financial limitations to seek out financial assistance from the pharmaceutical company if possible.  Also, do not be afraid to let your doctor know of your financial constraints.  I have been on NPH and R since I was diagnosed with T1D 18 months ago.  My endocrinologist, a NP not an MD, moved me to Lantus and Novolog without asking if I could afford it.  When I went to the pharmacy, the cost for a one month supply jumped to over $435 per month.  After initially freaking out, I contacted my primary doctor and explained my distress.  He calmed me down, indicated that I was doing well on NPH and R, and re-adjusted my prescriptions accordingly. 

 

Larry