Page Reviewed / Updated - Feb. 2014
Diabetes financial assistance for the elderly typically comes directly from the diabetes drug and supply manufacturers. These companies have financial assistance programs for diabetes patients that do not have insurance or whose insurance co-payment amounts are prohibitively expensive. These programs are often referred to as Patient Assistance Programs. Assistance is provided with the cost of diabetes supplies such as test strips, glucose monitor kits, lancing devices, insulin pumps as well as with diabetes medications.
Our organization has partnered with NeedyMeds.org to provide a complete and exhaustive list of patient assistance programs for diabetes medications and also for diabetes supplies. One can search by medication or by manufacturer. Click here to view.
The eligibility requirements differ for each organization’s diabetes assistance program; what follows are typical of the requirements.
Age requirements differ for each program however for the vast majority of programs, the diabetes patient’s age is not a factor in determining eligibility with the exception of those programs designed specifically for children.
Other than being diagnosed with diabetes, most organizations do not have additional health requirements to participate in their patient assistance programs.
Marital or family status is not typically considered in determining diabetes patient assistance program eligibility. However, the number of members in the participant’s household will usually impact the income limits for participation in the program.
Every program has different financial requirements. Typically eligibility is based on one’s household income. Many programs use the federal poverty guidelines as income thresholds. For example, if one’s income is less than 300% of the federal poverty guideline (in 2014, this is $35,010 for a single person) then they would qualify for assistance.
Some assistance programs have two-tiered eligibility requirements. For example, if your annual income is below $20,000 / year, the prescription or supplies might be completely free or if your income is under $30,000, you might receive a 75% price reduction.
Some programs for the elderly require the individual to have insurance; others are only available to those without insurance. So while insurance can be a determining factor, its impact is specific to each assistance program.
Each program has a different structure. Typically they provide assistance in one of the following ways.
Benefit limits depend both on the program and the participating individual’s needs and resources. Some participants may receive a 100% price reduction on their supplies and medications while other may only receive a 25% reduction.
Since these programs are designed for the financially needy, typically there is no cost to participate in or apply for the program. One applies for directly with the pharmaceutical company or diabetes supply manufacturer. Usually they will request the applicant’s age, state of residence, income, prescriptions, insurance and medical providers information. Be aware that some programs require you to re-apply for each new prescription. See a list of diabetes financial assistance programs here.