BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The healthcare industry has made admirable strides in the creation and production of medications that can help people with chronic illnesses.

That said, a number of patients struggle to cover the costs of prescription drugs that can either improve their quality of life, or save their lives.

To illustrate, individuals who’ve been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes depend on insulin to survive. They’re typically required to take a certain dosage of insulin before every meal, and failing to do so can result in severe illness or even death. 

But some patients are required to pay as much as $300 monthly for their insulin, even with health insurance. Due to the high price of the much-needed medication, it isn’t uncommon for such patients to resort to skipping insulin doses in hopes of stretching their supply of the medication. While understandable, this practice is dangerous. 

So, if medications such as insulin are necessary to sustain a person’s life, why aren’t they less expensive? 

Well, some sources point to several reasons, stating that not only are there a limited number of insulin manufacturers, but that the nation’s insurance structure is designed to allow pharmaceutical companies to cut deals with insurers so as to ensure coverage of their products.

Whatever the reason for the high cost, most patients simply want to know what to do to gain access to the medication they need to survive.

One local resource is Baton Rouge’s Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, which provides a variety of support services to individuals with type 1 diabetes. 

Click here to find out more about the Foundation’s community resources.

In addition to assistance from the Foundation, the following suggestions may help:

Consider a less expensive brand of insulin

Ask your insurance provider for a list of preferred medications that they cover so you can find out what the copay is for each brand of insulin. In doing so, you may find a cheaper brand and you can ask your physician if it’s safe for you to use the cheaper brand. 

Talk it out with your physician

If you let your doctor in on your struggle to pay for insulin, she may be able to provide you with samples or suggest a less expensive generic version that won’t break the bank. 

Check out drug discount programs

Though these programs may not work in addition to insurance, they may save you some money if you decide to use the discount program alone. 

WebMD recommends looking into the following programs:

Benefits Check Up

Needy Meds

Chat with the manufacturing company 

The makers of the insulin just may work with you to get the insulin to you at a more economical price. According to WebMD, the cost that they give you will likely depend on your income and whether you have private health insurance, government health insurance, or no health insurance. Your pharmacist should be able to tell you which company produces your insulin and provide you with their contact information.

Making the effort to research the issue and shop around for more affordable insulin can be stressful, especially for a person with a chronic illness. If this is the case, it may be beneficial to include a trusted friend or family member in the process. 

Click here for the Centers of Disease Prevention and Control’s (CDC) information related to the management of type 1 diabetes.