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Help available for Minnesotans struggling to pay for insulin

Minnesota’s Insulin Safety Net Program provides a pathway to access this life-saving drug.

EP Health
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ALEXANDRIA — A recent study found that more than 1.3 million Americans with diabetes rationed their insulin because of cost concerns by skipping doses, taking less insulin than needed, or delaying buying insulin to save money.

During National Diabetes Month, MNsure and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy remind Minnesotans that the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program provides fast, reliable help for those who need insulin and may be struggling to afford this life-saving drug.

The Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program has two key components, depending on individual needs:

If you are in immediate need of assistance — that is, if you have less than a seven-day supply of insulin and will likely face significant health consequences without it — the urgent need program enables eligible Minnesotans to receive a 30-day supply of insulin right away at a pharmacy and pay no more than a $35 co-pay, one time per year.

If you need longer-term help covering the costs of insulin, the continuing need program supports eligible Minnesotans to receive up to a year supply of insulin for no more than $50 per 90-day refill. You can get free help applying for the continuing need program from a MNsure-certified navigator trained to help with the process.

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In 2021, over 1,100 Minnesotans received discounts on their insulin through the program, totaling nearly $6.9 million, but many more are likely eligible for assistance. In 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health estimated that 8.8% of adults in Minnesota (about 390,000) had been diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, with over 20,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

One Minnesota parent, Nicole Smith-Holt, has shared her family’s story following the tragic death of her son, Alec, in 2017, at the age of 26 from ketoacidosis after rationing his insulin to make it last longer. Minnesota’s Insulin Safety Net Program was created by a law named in Alec’s honor, the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, and signed by Gov. Tim Walz in 2020. The program is implemented by MNsure, the state’s health insurance marketplace, and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy.

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