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How to pay less for insulin

This photo provided by Novo Nordisk Inc. shows its Tresiba brand insulin. (Photo from Novo Nordisk Inc. via AP)
This photo provided by Novo Nordisk Inc. shows its Tresiba brand insulin. (Photo from Novo Nordisk Inc. via AP)

Insulin prices have skyrocketed in recent years. There are proposals in Washington to rein in the cost, but that could be a long way off, especially for people struggling to pay now. In the meantime, Consumer Reports explains how diabetics can save money on insulin.

If you're insured and have a high-deductible plan, new federal rules could mean that you just have a low copayment. For example, if you're insured by Cigna, you could get insulin for just $25. Check with your insurer.

If your insurance company hasn’t set low or zero copays, or if you don’t have insurance, consider an authorized generic insulin.

For example, Eli Lilly’s authorized generic version of Humalog, called insulin lispro, is half the price at just $150 per month.

If you have to stick with a branded insulin, there are some lower-cost options now available.

You could also consider human insulin. Novo Nordisk’s version is available at certain pharmacies for about $25, depending on your insurance status and plan. If you don’t have insurance, see if an insulin manufacturer has a patient assistance program that will allow you to get it free if you qualify.

For more about these programs from the three insulin makers:

  • Eli Lilly’s LillyCares (800-545-6962). In emergencies, you may be able to get a free, limited supply by calling customer service at 833-808-1234.
  • Novo Nordisk’s NovoCare program (844-668-6463). In emergencies, you may be able to get a free, one-time limited month’s supply by going to NovoCare.com or calling 844-668-6463.
  • Sanofi’s Patient Connection program (888-847-4877)

Consumer Reports also says you can look into diabetes clinics and diabetes-specific organizations within your state or county to find low or no-cost insulin. You can find one near you by going to Needymeds.com for free help.