(BPT) - If you are one of the 7 million Americans living with diabetes that relies on insulin every day to help manage your condition, you understand the complexities of the U.S. healthcare system. It’s a confusing system for many. Even more importantly, high out-of-pocket costs for patients have made lifesaving medicines like insulin not as easily accessible to all who need them.
“We need to look at costs for essential medicines in a new and different way,” said Jennifer Trujillo, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Department of Clinical Pharmacy, and American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Member. “There should be no situation in which a person living with diabetes goes without insulin, no matter their health insurance or income situation. This is just not acceptable. That is why we need more people to be aware of the programs available that could help lower out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter.”
There are several different ways to access insulins at a reduced cost right now — today — regardless of insurance status:
1. Uninsured — Pharmaceutical companies are creating programs to help people who are faced with high prices at the pharmacy counter — for Sanofi, it’s the Insulins Valyou Savings Program.
Through this program, uninsured patients paying cash in the U.S. pay $99 per month to access certain Sanofi insulins with a valid prescription, for up to 10 boxes of pens and/or 10 mL vials per month. Anyone who is uninsured can participate in the program — regardless of income level. This includes those who are paying high retail prices for their insulin and those who don’t qualify for other patient support programs.
In addition, many companies provide medications, including insulin, at no charge for qualified low-income, uninsured patients, like the Patient Assistance Connection component of the Sanofi Patient Connection program.
2. Commercial Insurance — For those who are commercially insured — such as those who receive healthcare through an employer program or through online healthcare exchange plans — co-pay programs are available and designed to limit out-of-pocket expenses sometimes to $0, regardless of income level.
Medicare Part D and Medicaid patients are unable to access most patient co-pay assistance programs due to federal regulations; but many companies are actively working to change these rules. In addition, pharmaceutical companies negotiate discounts on products that are not always pushed through to patients. New legislation is being proposed to change this so that all patients are able to benefit directly from these discounts.
There is no one solution to this access and affordability puzzle. It takes a suite of programs to support each person’s distinct needs.
“If you or a loved one is living with diabetes, it’s important to know that there are programs out there that can help,” said Trujillo. “I encourage people to check the manufacturer of your insulin to see what programs may be available to you.”
Anyone who is prescribed a Sanofi medicine, and who may be having financial challenges or trouble navigating their insurance, can call Sanofi Patient Connection at 888-847-4877, where eligible patients can be connected to the medicines and resources they need.