Diabetics are facing multiple woes at present. With lower-income, and at times, job loss, many patients of diabetes who rely on insulin to survive are left with huge health and financial burden considering that copay caps could no longer sustain the increasing price of insulin. Thankfully, there are underground insulin networks that help provide insulin for diabetics free of charge.

In health care, copayment or copay, refers to the price control set by the government, which is a flat fee, which consumers or patients pay whenever they visit their doctors or they fill a prescription. For many diabetes patients, the cap set by some states on copay was only a partial solution, thus, many turned to insulin sharing to sustain their needs, lest they do not survive.

One of the states that implemented a cap on copayments was Colorado. It set a $100 cap on copay but it applies only to state-regulated health plans. The cap could not be applied to those who do not have insurance coverage or those with employer-sponsored plans.

Type 1 International, a group that advocates for insulin access, revealed in CNN that with the cap set in Colorado, only about three percent of patients suffering from type 1 diabetes below 65 years could benefit from it. Martha Bierut, the chapter leader in Colorado, said that these laws are usually backed by pharmaceutical companies just to give the impression that things are getting better. However, the reality is that there is a much longer road ahead.

Confronted with the problem of very expensive insulin, many diabetics turned to underground insulin networks to seek for the life-saving insulin. With the help of social media, as well as word-of-mouth, those who need insulin would connect with someone who still has insulin to spare.

What happens is that insurers allow patients a certain amount of insulin every month. However, patients make use of varying amounts of insulin. This would depend on the patient's diet and activity. So there's always a chance that others would have spare insulin to give to those in need.

Diabetics turn to underground insulin networks amid copay limits. Photo: Pixabay

Although it is illegal to freely share prescription medication, many patients do not care. Those who give fellow diabetics say they are out to save lives. Those who receive free insulin need to survive.