Living Without Insurance

I have a question for the diabetics out there, particularly those in college. What insurance are you all on? 

I've been having a difficult time with this issue. Since turning 19 and attending college, I was kicked off of the state insurance that I was placed on since being diagnosed in 2002. For the past 5 months I've been without insurance and am starting to feel desperate. There are no state programs that I qualify for and I can find no private insurance companies that will cover me. My parents are on state health insurance and I cannot be covered under their plan. 

Is there any advice any of you have? Any private insurance companies that do take diabetics with a reasonable monthly payment? Thanks for any information anyone has. 



Hi Emma,

I don't know if your state has counties or parishes, but in CA we have counties and usually, the counties have public health programs for people who are students, don't have or can't get insurance, don't have jobs, or have a low income.  You can contact your county's department of health and see if they have any suggestions or can help you find someone whom can advise you.  This is what I did for the month I did not have insurance when my husband switched companies.  I was lead to a local public urgent care where a doctor saw me and gave me a prescription for my insulin.  My first fill was free of charge at their pharmacy.  I then kept the prescription and sent it to a Canadian pharmacy where I was able to buy a 100u vial of Humalog for $45.49 + $14.00 express shipping which is a lot cheaper than the $180 retail price at a local pharmacy.  Granted, there is always a long wait for public urgent cares and a lot of paperwork to fill out, but as a last resort, it was well worth it.  I had also contacted a local diabetes center and the diabetes educator was very concerned for my situation and very adamant about trying to help me find other alternatives.  So, if you have a diabetes center near you, you can contact them as well.  Also, through the CA county's health programs, they sent me discount prescription cards, however I could not find Humalog on the list of brands participating in the program.  However, you may be able to find something similar. 

Just a note, when using a Canadian pharmacy, express shipping takes up to 5 - 6 business days because they have to export the medicine to the U.S. and it will have to go through customs, so make sure to order no later than a week before you run out.  The Canadian pharmacy I used is and they are a member of the BBB.  They also have chat online customer service, should you have any questions about your order.  But, you can also call them with their toll free number.  I found their representatives to be honest, straight-forward, and very straight-to-the-point, meaning that they tell you as it is and won't try to pressure you into buying from them.  I had ordered my insulin from them on a Sunday afternoon and it was shipped out the next day on Monday, then I had received it on Saturday.  Just make sure someone is home when you expect your order to arrive because someone will need to sign for the package.

You can also try looking into sites like these:,

Even if you don't sign up with them, you can talk to a representative from them and see what kind of advice they can give you.  I've found that talking to other people who do not work for an actual U.S. health insurance company are more likely to be helpful and give you genuine advice.  Every time I've tried to speak to a rep from my old insurance company, they were incompetent and unwilling to advise me otherwise. 

I hope this helps and you find an alternative soon.  Best of luck!

Wow ScrappyDy - really - $180 for a bottle of Humalog!  That is high way robbery.  I know this is one thing that has scared me about moving to the US and I can't afford insurance or have work insurance - is the cost for my D supplies. I probably would be going the root many of you have to go thru'.

Good luck Emma!


Does you college have student health insurance? I used that in grad school. It was cheap, but sucked. But, it was better than nothing!

[quote user="FatCatAnna"]

Wow ScrappyDy - really - $180 for a bottle of Humalog!  That is high way robbery.  I know this is one thing that has scared me about moving to the US and I can't afford insurance or have work insurance - is the cost for my D supplies. I probably would be going the root many of you have to go thru'.

Good luck Emma!



Oh, I know!  It truly is.  I had a conversation about the price difference with the Canadian rep from the pharmacy.  She was like, "Canadians can get their insulin free and that's why we can sell it to Americans for so cheap."  I told her that I just don't understand why America can't get universal health care rolling like the Canadians.  Then, she put it bluntly to me that Americans just aren't compassionate for their own and I told her that that was totally true!  If Canada wasn't so cold during the winters, I'd totally want to live there!  LOL!  I have friends up there who moved from the U.S. and absolutely love it.  But, most of them are snowboarders, not surfers like my husband.  Haha!  Anyway, the diabetes educator here who also tried helping me said that she runs into the situation I was in often because students from Canada don't realize how much insulin costs here.  I think if ALL U.S. diabetics boycotted the U.S. pharmacies and all got their insulin and supplies from Canadian pharmacies, it may help snap U.S. drug companies off their high horse and give into compassion instead of greed.  (Maybe, it's a small bit of hope.)

Ask a local CVS pharmacist for help. They have special prices for people with no health insurance. You have to ask. Perhaps it will make it affordable. 

If you are near Canada I would go. Most things are cheaper there out of pocket than they are here with insurance.

Also see a social worker. You may qualify for more than you think. 

Well, as of January 1, 2011 the new US Health care bill is supposed to extend coverage to kids up to the age of 25 years on their parents' policies. Most states have some sort of Medicaid plan- i.e. MassHealth for Massachusetts, Oregon Health Plan for Oregon, etc. Additionally, you cannot be rejected or thrown off a plan for a  pre-existing health condition after 1/1/2011- so, hopefully you won't have to wait that long, but you should definitely be able to get coverage in the new year. If you use Lily products (like Humalog)- try LilyCares- the pharmaceutical will supply if need is assessed, as will some of the other pharmaceuticals. I would definitely check with your college too- most have health plans available, although some are very costly.

If, by any chance, you are on the Animus pump I have a case of leftover supplies- happy to give to you- I have infusion sets and inserts. Best to email me at as I am not great about checking into JDRF forum daily. best of luck!


Your college should have some sort of school insurance plan. It won't cover supplies initially because its a pre-existing condition but thereafter it will.

Also, most college students qualify for Medicaid because there is minimal income when you're in college and your expenses are high.

One more thing - many drug companies have programs to provide free supplies to people in need. Its a tax write-off I believe. Look into your insulin manufacturer's and test strips companies. Get your meter from your doctor's office.

There are a couple of different options:

1.) Under the new health care reform, students/young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance plans until the age of 26, regardless if they live at home or attend school. There are no restricitions. This goes into effect Sept. 23, 2010. You should not be denied because of a pre-existing condition. To learn more about the new health care bill, go to

2.) Find employment - some jobs (even part-time) offer health benefits. Consider Wal-mart, Sam's Club, Cosco, Whole Foods, Apple, 7/11, Wawa, Starbucks, etc.

3.) Contact your local health department and/or free clinics

4.) Contact your school and see if they offer a university/college health plan or if you can obtain supplies, Rx's and treatment from their clinic on camplus

5.) Look into prescription assistance programs, such as ,,,, Many offer assistance to people who do not have insurance. Be prepared to complete paperwork and show proof of income (ie. - last year's w2's, tax return, etc).

6.) Look into prescription assitance programs from the various pharmecutical companies online:  Lantus and Apidra = Sanofi Aventis, Humalog = Lilly Cares, Freestyle = Abbott, and Levemir = Novo Nordisk. Many offer assistance to people who do not have insurance. Be prepared to complete paperwork and show proof of income (ie. - last year's w2's, tax return, etc).

7.) If you are connected with a pediatric endocrinologist or children's hospital in your area, ask how long you can be seen/treated there. Some take kids up til age 21-22. If so, ask about any charity care/uncompensated care programs.  You may also consider asking to speak with a social worker.

8.) Talk with your current health care provider. He/she may have access to samples to help off-set any out of pocket costs that you may have to pay for insulin and supplies, especially in time of need.

9.) Look into purchasing private insurance. Some companies are: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Optima, Kaiser, Anthem, Humana United Healthcare


Good Luck!