I have food allergies. Lots of them. My husband jokes that there are more foods I can’t eat than those that I can. He might be right. I’ve been prescribed emergency auto-injection epinephrine, better known as the EpiPen, since it became commercially available. And for the past several years, I have been able to get my EpiPen free. So when Mylan recently announced that price was going to be $600 I panicked.
My allergic reactions are the most severe kind – anaphylaxis. That means if I am ever exposed to my allergens I can die within minutes. The only thing to keep me from dying is that shot of adrenaline in my thigh. That’s a frightening feeling when you’re allergies are as sensitive as mine. I can walk into a room and smell shellfish, banana, peanuts or citrus fruit and have to walk right back out. I have had to leave banquet luncheons several times because they meal contained tomato sauce. Yes, I am that allergic.
A few years ago I would pay $100 for the prescription. That’s the most expensive prescription you hope to never use. And they expire, so at some point that $100 peace of mind get tossed in the trash. I was ecstatic when Mylan introduced the $0 co-pay coupon program. Those who were written a prescription by a qualifying physician could get the EpiPen free. That reduced the pressure of needing to carry such an expensive, but life-saving medication.
My daughters have food allergies too. I tried everything I could to prevent that to no avail. Having an EpiPen at all times is an absolute necessity for our family. So the thought of not being able to afford it caused me to panic. So much so, that I put off even checking the price at my pharmacy for two months. Then I heard that there was a generic version available. I also learned that in Canada you can get one for $95 American with no prescription. I almost sent my mom to get one; she lives in Western New York near the border.
I finally broke down and called the pharmacist to fill the prescription. $85 for the generic version. Not so bad considering I had seen $300 and $400 prices from other users, even with the new $300 off co-pay coupon from other users. My pharmacist encouraged me to check the brand name price with my insurance and co-pay coupon. I was skeptical, but I am glad I did because I walked away from the pharmacy with my EpiPen free. And you may be able to do the same.
Check Your Health Insurance Formulary
The formulary is the list of drugs covered by your insurance. Some plans pay more for certain medications. Review your plan’s list and be certain that your EpiPen is covered. Now that there is a generic version, your insurance plan may cover less for the brand name. Even though the retail price is $600, your insurance carrier may cover a significant portion of that. My out of pocket cost with insurance was $120. Check your formulary today.
Register For the CoPay Savings Card
In August 2016, shortly after the public outcry regarding the price increase, Mylan introduced the new co-pay savings card. Users must register online to receive a savings card worth up to $300 on your out of pocket expense. It takes less than 5 minutes, and you can save an image of the card onto your phone or mobile device. It also emails you a copy of the card for printing if you prefer. With the savings card, my $120 out of pocket expense was covered in full. I was able to fill my prescription and get my EpiPen free. What a relief.
Order The Generic Version
While the savings card will not work for the generic version, your insurance company may cover more of the upfront cost. I would have paid $85 at my pharmacy for the generic version. That’s much better than $600 or $300. You will have to ask specifically for the generic version, or the pharmacy will likely fill it with the brand name. Not many pharmacies have the generic in stock yet. Or, your could always move to Canada, eh?
I was happy to learn I could get my EpiPen free. Hopefully, following these steps you can get your EpiPen free, too.