Managing diabetes care can require a lifetime commitment. Beyond diet changes and exercise, many people with diabetes need to take insulin to help control their blood sugar. Daily doses of insulin can add up, and some people can’t cover the costs on their own.

Fortunately, certain programs can help cover this expense. A patient assistance program (PAP) is a money saving program often backed by drug companies, nonprofits, and medical institutions. Most PAPs provide low- or no-cost insulin medication and supplies.

Each PAP has different requirements and criteria for their programs. If you don’t meet the criteria for one program, don’t assume you won’t meet the criteria for another. The time you spend filling out applications may result in a big cost savings.

Not everyone will qualify. A PAP may not cover the particular insulin you use. However, if you use insulin and need financial assistance, these websites and organizations are a great place to begin your search.

Applying for hundreds of PAPs can be time-consuming. But the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) may help you save time. You can apply for hundreds of private and public assistance programs at once through PPA, rather than applying to each individual company. PPA is designed to assist people who don’t have any prescription drug coverage. You may not qualify for any plans if you have pharmacy or prescription insurance.

Process steps:

  1. Receive an initial eligibility status by filling out a simple questionnaire on the PPA website.
  2. Enter the name of the medicine you’re taking, your age, where you live, and if you qualify for any insurance coverage.
  3. PPA will supply you with a list of potential assistance programs.

RxAssist hosts a large database of prescription assistance programs. It’s run by the Center for Primary Care and Prevention at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.

Process steps:

  1. Identify potential assistance programs by searching for your insulin and medication name. You can search for a brand name. If you don’t know how to spell it, enter the letters you do know.
  2. RxAssist can help you find what you’re searching for. Or you can search a generic name like “insulin.”
  3. That will return 16 insulin options that you can choose from.

For example, if you search a popular insulin like Lantus, you’ll find two options: Lantus (SoloStar pen) and Lantus. If you choose the Lantus pen, you’ll find information on a program funded by Sanofi, creators of Lantus. The RxAssist listing tells you a variety of details about the program, including financial structure, requirements, and contact information.

NeedyMeds is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people find financial assistance for their medical treatments. NeedyMeds works with low-income people and doesn’t charge for their assistance.

NeedyMeds maintains a list of programs that provide insulin and medications at low to no cost. If your insulin has a program, read the program’s criteria. If you believe you may qualify, download the applications from NeedyMeds’ website or from the program’s site. Follow the instructions provided to find out if you’ll receive any assistance.

Process steps:

  1. People who take Humalog can search for it on the site. It will return one plan provided by the medicine’s maker, Lilly.
  2. You can read the requirements for the program on the NeedyMeds site. If you think you would be eligible for the program, you can download the Lilly Cares application.
  3. Link to the plan’s site from the NeedyMeds site if you have any questions.

If your insulin doesn’t have a prescription assistance plan, don’t worry. NeedyMeds may still be able to help you. NeedyMeds offers a drug discount card. Use this card any time you fill a prescription or buy insulin supplies. When you give the pharmacy your prescription, hand them your discount card too. They can determine if you qualify for any additional savings. You may still qualify for savings even if you have prescription drug insurance. And when you’re paying for insulin supplies, every dime you can save helps.

Rx Hope is a prescription assistance organization that aims to help people get their medicines at little to no cost. Rx Hope knows how complicated the PAP world can be, so their site and features are easy to use. They help you get through the application and enrollment process. Like some of the previous sites, Rx Hope is a database of assistance programs, but is not an assistance program itself.

Process steps:

  1. If you need assistance buying Levemir for example, you can search for the insulin by name on the Rx Hope website. You will find one program option for that insulin. This program is created by Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Levemir. You’ll also see eligibility requirement and application information on the page.
  2. Print an application or follow the links on the page to the Novo Nordisk website.

BenefitsCheckUp is a prescription assistance program run by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). This program can help Americans over the age of 55 find prescription assistance programs. In addition to prescriptions, BenefitsCheckUp may help you find assistance for other areas of your life, including housing, legal aide, and in-home healthcare services.

Process steps:

  1. Complete a questionnaire on the BenefitsCheckUp website to see if you’re eligible for any programs. Then you’ll receive information on programs for which you might qualify.
  2. These listings will take you to printable applications or an online application.
  3. Submit your application and wait for a response from the assistance programs.

Drug companies often maintain prescription assistance programs for their medicines. This is true of insulin manufacturers too. If you have a hard time finding out whether your insulin is covered under a PAP, look to your insulin’s manufacturer. Most manufacturers proudly promote their plan.

If searching the pharmaceutical company doesn’t give you any results, try another approach. Search for a PAP through diabetes advocacy organizations. These medical clinics, research foundations, and nonprofit organizations often maintain up-to-date information on medical reimbursement and prescription assistance plans.

You can begin your diabetes search with these organizations: