Getting pens while on a pump?

Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone had any experience with getting insulin pens covered while also using vials for a pump. I am a college student and would like the option to keep a box of pens on hand for pump issues, illness, other emergencies, when I run out insulin vials before my refill date, etc. but my insurance will not pay for pens and vials at the same time. My doctor is rarely ever able to offer me more than one sample pen and often times can’t even offer that. Obviously being a student I can’t afford to pay 600 dollars out of pocket either. I was wondering if anyone knew of any creative workarounds (creative prescribing hacks, etc.) to get insurance to cover a single box of pens (at least one/year) without messing up my coverage with vials.


Hi @jrb0090. I can’t answer your specific question, but in my case my doctor gave me one sample each of short- and long-acting for emergencies. Thankfully I’ve only had to use them a couple of times, so they are nearly expired, so hopefully you won’t need to use them as often as you think - although it’s very smart to plan ahead.
As I was inserting my lady pump cartridge a few days ago I realized it would run out two or three days before I could pick up another bottle of insulin. BTW, that’s very unusual for me, and it’s possible I mistakenly discarded one thinking it was empty(!). In any case, I realized I would be short as soon as I inserted it in my pump, so I cashed my pharmacy and explained the situation, and she was able to get an override so I could pick up my bottle a little earlier than planned. That could be an option.

@jrb0090 Hi Joi and welcome to the TypeOneNation Forum. Although I’m unable to provide the information you want, you have come to the right place to learn and offer tips for all things diabetes.

I hear two questions here, one asked and another implied. First, as for “running out of insulin vials before …”, you and your prescribing doctor should calculate how much insulin should be prescribed at all refills. Second, a box of disposable insulin syringes kept on hand can be a very convenient and simple method of addressing your situation when combined with the “additional vial” your doctor will prescribe.

In all my travel pouches, I carry a couple of syringes and, at times [like when flying and extended biking], I have syringes and a partial vial of insulin in my belt pack. Never can anticipate when a pump-infusion will be dislodged. Other PWD have told me that when “bad things happen” to a pump, a syringe can be used to draw insulin from a pump cartridge or reservoir to administer insulin.