Low cost diabetic insulin is a real thing in Minnesota

Insulin Safety Net Program helps when diabetics need it most

I had been without insulin for over a month before I was finally able to get a new supply through a patient assistance program sponsored by Lilly, the company that manufactures the brand of insulin that I take—Basaglar.


During that month plus, I watched my blood sugar levels skyrocket into the 400’s and 500’s while fasting.

I felt my vision grow fuzzier, my feet experience more pain and my other health conditions flounder.

Starting July 1, 2020 in Minnesota

On July 1, the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program launched, allowing Minnesotans in urgent need of insulin (less than a seven-day supply on hand) to access the life-saving drug through their pharmacy.

Had I not been able to get my much-needed insulin prior to July 1, I could have possibly used this program that could prove a lifesaver to people just like me.

According to a press release from the Minnesota Department Of Health (DHS), “The program—implemented by MNsure, the state’s health insurance marketplace, and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy—was created to help Minnesotans facing difficulty affording their insulin.”

How many of us can raise our hands on that one?

Even with insurance, the cost of insulin has been a huge concern for diabetics.The program is made up of two parts:

1. The urgent need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive a once-per-year 30-day supply of insulin immediately at their pharmacy for no more than a $35 co-pay.

2. The continuing need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive up to a one-year supply of insulin for no more than $50 per 90-day refill.

This is amazing news for thousands of diabetics who struggle—especially since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic—to be able to afford their medications.

It is dangerous to stop taking your needed insulin—even briefly

There are many dangers associated with stopping insulin.

Long-term, some of those complications (which may take a while to appear) include: blindness, amputation, impotence, kidney failure, heart disease and death to name just a few.

Short-term, it can include damage to the body and brain.

If you want to see if you qualify for the program, go to MNinsulin.org. You can also learn how to apply.

“If you live in Minnesota and can’t afford your insulin, come to MNinsulin.org to see if you qualify for the Insulin Safety Net Program,” said CEO Nate Clark. “On MNinsulin.org, you can find details about the urgent need program and instructions on how to apply. You can also get help to access affordable insulin year-round. MNsure has nearly 200 certified navigators located across the state who have been trained to help Minnesotans access affordable insulin through existing insulin manufacturer assistance programs. No Minnesotan should have to ration their insulin. Get help at MNinsulin.org today.”

“Access to affordable insulin is vital to Minnesotans who need it to manage diabetes. Nobody’s health should be in jeopardy because they have to ration or go without this life-sustaining medication,” said Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. “Visit the Board of Pharmacy website to learn more about the Board of Pharmacy’s role in the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program and find information about obtaining other medications at lower costs.”

To be eligible

Those eligible for the urgent need program must:

• live in Minnesota

• have an urgent need for insulin

• have a current prescription for insulin

• pay more than $75 each month for their insulin prescription

• not be enrolled in Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare

• present a valid Minnesota ID card, driver’s license or permit, or tribal-issued ID to the pharmacy. For children under age 18, a parent or legal guardian must provide the pharmacy with their proof of residency

How to apply?

Go to MNinsulin.org to print the application. Bring the completed application to your local pharmacy. All pharmacies in Minnesota must participate.

If you are unable to print the application, ask your pharmacist to provide you with an “urgent need insulin application” to complete at the pharmacy.

Looking for help to access affordable insulin year-round?

According to the press release, “If you have an ongoing need for affordable insulin, contact a trained MNsure navigator for free help applying for the continuing need program through an insulin manufacturer’s patient assistance program. Go to MNinsulin.org to search for a navigator in your area.”

I was able to do this through my care team where I do my diabetes care. Many doctors and pharmacists are able to direct you.

You can also go onto the medication manufacturer’s website and see if they have a program to help with getting your medication. Many of them offer reduced or even free access to prescription medications.

In the case of Lilly for the Basaglar and Trulicity that I take, I had to be uninsured and meet certain income guidelines. Trust me, according to the average income ranges for much of Minnesota, many will meet the income guidelines.

The bottom line is that if you need insulin, there are options out there for you to get it. Don’t go without it and risk your life.

Thank you for visiting my site. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please leave questions or comments below and I will get back to you very soon!

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About the author

Karin Nauber, is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 24 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has nine grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 12 years ago and has faced many challenges with the disease. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: karin@diabeteshealthnuts.com.

17 thoughts on “Low cost diabetic insulin is a real thing in Minnesota

  1. Really interesting! That is an exciting development for those at risk in Minnesota. 

    Are there policies/programs in the works for other states in the US?

    Staying on top of your medication is extremely important and running out of an essential medication is highly stressful. I do my best to keep fill my subscription with a little bit of overlap but life happens and this will be a great aid for Minnesotans.

    1. Thank you for visiting our site. 

      This is very exciting for those at risk in Minnesota and there are a lot of us!

      I have not checked for other states at this time. That is coming up on the list!

      It is amazing that Minnesota legislators got this passed.

      Please stop back often as we will be adding more content that you may find useful!

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  2. Wow Karin, this is such good news for Minnesota residents that have type 2 diabetes.  Hopefully, other states will follow Minnesota.  Insulin is quite expensive.  I am a type 2 diabetic for over 40 years.  I did ran out of insulin sometimes and I can tell you it is not fun.  Do you have any suggestions as to what to do when you run out other than fighting with insurance etc?

    1. Yes, I was thrilled when this news was released! I just had to write about it so that I could let everyone know about it!

      I was in this situation once before. My diabetic health educator said that one could buy the insulin that they sell over the counter at Walmart and probably at other places, too. She said you have to monitor your numbers very closely though because this insulin works differently than like Basaglar or other name brand types.

      When my insurance ended, I felt lost. I had no idea how I was going to pay for my medications, but my team knew of the Lilly Cares program and since I was without insurance, they pay for a whole year’s supply.

      Best wishes with your diabetic care. Come back to our site often as we will be adding more.

      Best wishes,
      Karin 🙂

  3. Sharing your information about this ongoing health issue is helpful for your fellow MN state readers who are having issues.  As this is an ongoing health situation, any help, temporary or otherwise needs to be shared.  

    I am sorry to hear that this has become such an expensive problem for so many.  Those of us who do not deal with diabetes do not appreciate our blessings.  This is reason enough to get back on the diet and exercise track, to try not to develop the condition.  

    As there were several resources that you talked about in your article to work with for help, this should help those needing some assistance. I hate to admit how much I didn’t know, and what a problem is developing with the COVID 19 in our midst. Like most issues that arise, you are left on your own to find the resources you need.  Good luck to you and hopefully others can find this helpful as well.  Thanks for the information.

    1. Thank you for visiting our site. Insulin prices have become a problem nationwide in the United States. There are so many factors that have driven the price up. Those of us without insurance have been put in a particularly tough situation, but even those with insurance have a difficult time paying for their medications.

      Not developing type 2 diabetes in the first place is definitely the way to go, but with our food industry the way it is, sometimes this is very difficult. Difficult, but not impossible.

      With hope, more and more states will help with the insulin program for those who are in need.

      With 2020 Vision,
      Karin 🎆🎇🧨😎

  4. Wow! I never knew that insulin is very germane for a diabetic until when the covid19 period started and my dad couldn’t get his insulin supplies. This is really good to see here and thank you for sharing it. It is a good thing to know that provisions have been made to ensure that people can get their insulin for use and to continue their need for it. Thumbs up.

    1. Hi Phillip. Thank you for commenting on my posts. It is good to see your interest in this topic which is life or death for so many. Provisions had to be made because there is such a high cost to the medications. The other day I walked out of the hospital with well over $1000 worth of medication in a small paper bag. A couple of weeks earlier, I walked out with $4000 worth. I would be spending over $1500 a month on my diabetes medications because I don’t have insurance. It is a dilemma for many. But this gives hope that things may be changing.

      With 2020 Vision,
      Karin 🎆🎇🧨😎

  5. This is amazing news for the Minnesotans. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more, it’s such a profoundly necessary drug for diabetics and as far as I know, it’s indeed incredibly dangerous to go without. That said, I actually didn’t know it’s as dangerous as you described. I’m really glad you’re okay. I mean, isn’t 400’s and 500′ like busted high? 

    Overall, such an awesome program they’re running (and it’s so cool that they’ve got all pharmacies on board; mandatory or otherwise, doesn’t matter), especially given the current circumstances and the raging pandemic. I imagine many, many people need that. 

    Stay safe and have a Great One! Cheers.

    1. Thanks for visiting our site, Matiss.

      Yes, it is great news for Minnesotans. Yes, 400s and 500s is very high! I was quite sick. But now with the insulin I am slowly knocking the numbers back so my average is now around 250. Still not ideal, but getting better.

      Having the pharmacies on board is a huge plus because without them, this would not even be possible.

      Wishing you health and wellness!

      With 2020 Vision,
      Karin 😎😎

  6. Very nice job from the government of Minnesota, helping those in need. I think that this would be even better if it can be applied in even more states so that so many more people can benefit from it. Great article updating the viewers with the latest news and updates.

    1. I appreciate your comments on this article, as well. The state had to do something because so many people have been going without their medications. This is helpful and will be a lifesaver for many.

      With 2020 Vision,
      Karin 😎😎

  7. Hello, I really enjoyed to read this article even if not for the best motives. Although I don’t have diabetes, I could feel through your description in your post how bad and desperating it is to run out of insulin. 

    I’ve also run a quick check on google and am shocked to know how expensive it is to get insulin in USA (in Portugal, where I live, state pays 95% to 100% for insulin, meaning you can get it for free as long as you go to a doctor and get medical prescription). I am happy for this program in Minnesota and I hope that regarding health, things continue to improve, not only about COVID-19 but in general. It is appaling to know that people in such a rich and developed country like USA may be struggling to get healthcare of any kind.

    Wish you the best.

    Cheers, Sofia

    1. Thanks again, for visiting our site, Sofia. Insulin can be very expensive. Mine would cost me around $300 per month. The other non-insulin injection that I use costs well over $1000 a month. It’s crazy. There are many reasons our prescription drugs cost so much here in the USA, mostly because big pharmacutical companies having power in politics… It is sad.

      With 2020 Vision,
      Karin 😎

  8. Hi!

    I don’t live in Minnesota, but I find this information really interesting! I have some friends over there who could definitely use this information! I just want to thank you for such an amazing work, you are certainly helping many people. I am aware of how important insulin is to diabetic people and this post will help them a lot.


    1. Thank you for visiting our site, Juan. This is such good news for people who living in Minnesota. It is so easy for something to happen in today’s somewhat unstable world that it is important to know there is this resource available.

      With 2020 Vision,
      Karin 😎

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