Helping Valley People Manage The Cost of Insulin (NewsUSA) - Middle-class families are being devastated by the staggering cost of life-saving insulin. While the average person spends about $1,025 per year on medication, many people with diabetes who use insulin are often required by their health insurance plans to spend five times that amount on a treatment they must have. Today, six million Americans who depend on insulin to manage their diabetes often need multiple insulin shots a day. Many are choosing to forego their insulin or to ration doses, risking greater health problems. The cause? Insufficient prescription drug coverage by insurance carriers. Lost in this complex world of diabetes, amid the blame game and finger-pointing, are programs created by pharmaceutical manufacturers to help patients enrolled in private health insurance plans who cannot afford their prescriptions. Many insurers fail to tell people about these programs. Copay assistance cards, also called copay coupons, can help take the financial sting out of the cost of medication. To obtain one, patients must go to the insulin manufacturer's website and search for financial or copay assistance programs, complete an application, and enroll. All of this can be a bit complicated; many people get frustrated and give up. Don't! The value of copay assistance is this: it lowers the cost you pay and may even cover all the cost. The pharmaceutical company covers the difference. Typically, you don't even have to prove that paying your regular copay would present a financial hardship. These programs are usually not available to Medicare recipients, however. To help people in the California Central Valley afford their insulin, we looked up programs offered by pharmaceutical companies that manufacture insulin. For more information on Insulin Support Programs, visit www.legacyhealthendowment.org. For the uninsured, there are other programs that often cover close to 100 percent of the cost. The Mat.org website is a great website to help you. Before filling your insulin prescription or any prescription medication, check to see if the pharmaceutical manufacturer offers a copay assistance program. If you need help, remember that your pharmacist is another excellent resource and may be able to answer your questions. Jeffrey Lewis is president and CEO of Legacy Health Endowment in Turlock Ca. Mr. Lewis' email address is jeffrey@legacyhealthendowment.org