Cost of insulin on the rise, new monthly cost cap for Medicare

Cost of insulin on the rise, new monthly cost cap for Medicare
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 6:35 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -The cost of insulin has steadily increased. Making it harder for those with diabetes to get much-needed medicine.

One pharmacist at U-Save-it in Albany, says they can typically only get five boxes worth of supply at a time. The manufacturer limits how much they can receive so that each pharmacy can get some.

“We’ve seen different things affecting the cost of insulin. Some insulins have gone generic, which has improved some pricing for some patients. Though, some people might not be aware of there is a lot of insurances, that although the generic is available, they still require you to get the brand,” Pharmacist Betsy Urick said.

Experts advise that while you are waiting, check your insurance, but also see if your local doctor can provide samples.

“One nice change with January 1st of this year (2023) is that Medicare patients will not pay more than $35 dollars for a month supply of insulin. If they got two months it would be $70 etc. So that has shown to be a big cost-savings for particularly for Medicare patients,” Urick said.

The cost of insulin has steadily increased. What will that mean for those who aren’t able to get it if not on Medicare?

WALB spoke with other pharmacists in the community. They say that a lot of customers have not been able to pick up their insulin due to other issues, such as the supply of it.

“My patients have been really nice and understanding of us not being able to. We’ve been fortunate that for the most part. All of my patients we’ve been able to get their insulin. If that means they have to go to another pharmacy, whether it’s Walgreens or CVS, the patient’s safety is always our priority,” Urick said.

WALB spoke with a few southwest Georgia residents who didn’t want to go on camera. They said they were experiencing the same issues. Some even say that they can’t use insulin for diabetic purposes because it’s taken by those wanting to lose weight.

“They’re generally equivalent. So whatever the patient is able to get and insurance will pay for. Often the generic is actually manufactured by the manufacturer of the brand name medicine, so they are literally identical,” Urick said.

Most insurance companies will require you to get name-brand insulin; which adds to the overall increase in cost. It’s best to seek all options as it can be a life or death situation.

Even if you aren’t able to get your medicine from your local pharmacy, it may be best to call around to see who has it.