As the nation continues its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, many businesses remain closed, leaving a record number of Americans without jobs. As of April 2020, 23 million people in the United States are unemployed.
For many, a job loss has been accompanied by a loss of health insurance as well. If you are concerned about paying for life-saving medication, such as insulin, without insurance, know that RxSaver has options for you.
What Is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas makes, and that your body uses to turn food into energy. After you eat, insulin helps move sugar in your blood to fat cells, muscles, and liver to store for later use.
If you have diabetes mellitus (diabetes), your body does not produce enough insulin, or it does not utilize it properly (insulin resistance). Consequently, the sugar remains in the blood resulting in high blood sugar levels. In some cases, your body does not produce enough insulin to maintain normal sugar levels, and you need to use insulin injections.
Different types of insulin injections are classified based on how fast they work, how long it takes to reach peak effect, and how long their effects last:
- Rapid-acting insulin: Examples include Apidra (insulin glulisine), Humalog (insulin lispro), and NovoLog (insulin aspart)
- Regular or short-acting insulin: Examples include Humulin R and Novolin R (human regular insulin)
- Intermediate-acting insulin: Examples include Humulin N and Novolin N (NPH insulin)
- Long-acting insulin: Examples include Levemir (insulin detemir), Basaglar (insulin glargine), and Lantus (insulin glargine), and Toujeo (insulin glargine)
- Ultra-long acting insulin: Examples include Tresiba (insulin degludec)
What is the cost of insulin without insurance?
The cost of insulin without insurance starts at $444.64* for 100/ml (3) and 5 syringes for a prescription of Lantus Solostar using an RxSaver coupon.
The following are five commonly prescribed insulin products and their average prices with a RxSaver™ coupon. Specific prices vary by location and pharmacy, so be sure to use RxSaver to check pricing in your area.
|Medication||Lowest Price for Common Dosages*|
|Insulin Lispro KwikPen U-100 (generic for Humalog KwikPen U-100)||$143.03|
|Insulin Aspart (generic for NovoLog vial)||$126.53|
|Insulin aspart FlexPen (generic for NovoLog FlexPen)||$287.34|
|Lantus solostar (insulin glargine)||$444.64|
|Tresiba FlexTouch (insulin degludec)||$530.18|
The Importance of Your Insulin Injection Schedule
Your dose of insulin is calculated based on how many carbohydrates you consume with each meal or snack, how much you exercise, and how much you weigh.
About half of your daily insulin dose will be your background or basal insulin. This is a long-acting insulin that replaces your body’s overnight insulin and your insulin between meals.
Your bolus insulin replacement is your carbohydrate coverage. This insulin is dosed according to how many grams of carbohydrates you have with each meal. Generally, one unit of rapid-acting insulin covers about 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Sometimes, you may need a dose of insulin to correct blood sugar levels higher than your target levels. Your doctor will prescribe a dose of insulin based on your blood sugar level. Generally, you need one unit of rapid-acting insulin to lower blood sugar by 50 mg/dL.
Your health care provider will calculate an insulin dose schedule for you, but you may have to calculate your insulin replacement dose or your correction dose based on the meals you eat and your blood sugar levels. It is crucial to adhere to your individualized insulin dose schedule to maintain healthy control of your diabetes.
Your insulin dose schedule gives you formulas that help you calculate how much insulin you need with your meals and snacks and how much you will need to correct high blood sugar levels. It is essential that you use the amount of insulin that your schedule provides to prevent dangerous spikes in your blood sugar.
Can You Buy Insulin Over the Counter?
You can buy human regular insulin (Humulin R and Novolin R) and human NPH insulin (Humulin N and Novolin N) without a prescription at the pharmacy. If you are using either of these insulins without a prescription, be sure to talk to a health care provider regarding your dose and the proper way to use it.
You need a prescription to buy all other insulin products. In light of the current pandemic, many doctors’ offices might still be temporarily closed or open only for patients with emergency or urgent needs. If you cannot see your doctor in person during the coronavirus outbreak or if your health condition requires that you remain home for safety, you can access several telehealth services that can provide a new insulin prescription or refill an old prescription.
Compare Prices with RxSaver before You Fill Your Insulin Prescription
Losing your job or your health insurance can be traumatic and devastating, but there are affordable options for buying your insulin without insurance. If you need a new prescription, you can access telehealth services from home.
A telehealth provider can also approve refills, and some states are allowing emergency refills of up to 30-day supplies of medication without a prescription. Remember that you do not have to go without your medicine. Regardless of your financial position, RxSaver can help you with affordable prices for your medication.
Insulin Lispro KwikPen U-100: 100/ml / 5 syringes
Insulin Aspart: 100/ml / 1 vial
Insulin Aspart FlexPen: 100/ml (3) / 5 syringes
Lantus Solostar: 100/ml (3) / 5 syringes
Tresiba U-100 FlexTouch: 100/ml (3) / 5 syringes
*Lowest online price at national pharmacy chains Costco, CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens and Walmart as of 4/22/2021. Prices vary by location and pharmacy, see RxSaver.com for actual pricing in your area.
Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD
Dr. Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD, is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years and is a regular contributor to the RxSaver blog. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.
If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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