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
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
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.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.