Managing Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

People with diabetes are not more likely to get COVID-19.  However, people with diabetes and high blood sugars or other underlying health problems can get serious complications from the infection.  Below is some helpful information for people with diabetes during the pandemic.

Are you worried there will be shortages of insulin and diabetes supplies?

Currently, there are no shortages of insulin or other diabetes supplies. However, it is important to plan ahead. Consider these options:

What if you get sick with COVID-19 or with other illnesses?

  • If you are ill you should contact your medical provider or be seen.  Please call or send a MyChart message first so we can appropriately determine the next steps for your unique situation.
  • We will try to provide as much care as possible through virtual options but if you need to be seen please be assured that at UW Health we have processes in place to keep you safe during a clinic visit, a lab visit or even an inpatient stay at one of our hospitals.
  • Do not avoid seeking medical care as this can be more dangerous than COVID-19 in some situations.

Things to keep in mind as you manage your diabetes while ill

It is important to be familiar with how to manage your diabetes if you are ill. If you have any questions, contact your diabetes provider.

Are you concerned you might or have already lost your income or insurance, and you aren’t sure how you will afford insulin and other supplies?

  • There are many different commercial and non-profit programs that advocate on your behalf as a person with diabetes. There are also many publicly available discount programs you can consider. *The programs, partnerships and related offers listed below are not endorsed by or associated with UW Health, and are meant to provide information only.
  • Talk to your diabetes provider about less-expensive options.
  • To reduce the cost of your test strips, ask your diabetes provider if it’s ok to test less often.

Advocacy/Assistance Programs

American Diabetes Association

  • Links to several resources in one place:;
  • 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383); 
    • Press 0 to speak with an assistant Monday–Friday, 9am to 7pm ET

St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy

  • If you are currently established with SVdP, they will continue to fill prescriptions. They are not currently taking new patients. Contact them at (608) 442-7200 or go online:

Insulin Manufacturer Drug Assistance Programs

  • If you find an insulin choice that is more affordable, talk to your provider about switching insulin types.
    • Short Acting: Humalog/Novolog/Apidra/Admelog can be substituted
    • Long Acting: Lantus/Levemir/Toujeo/Tresiba can be substituted

Lilly Insulin Value Program

  • Anyone without insurance or people with commercial insurance can purchase Humalog insulin for $35 for a one-month supply.
    • Humulin U500 insulin is not covered through this program
  • Call: 1-833-808-1234 between 8AM and 8PM EST Monday through Friday.
  • Copay Savings Card:

Novo Nordisk

  • 1-844-NOVO4ME (1-844-668-6463)
  • Patient Assistance Program: Free, one-time, immediate supply of insulins for up to 90 days for patients experiencing financial hardship due to COVID 19. Apply online and provide proof of hardship or severance (Their website does not reflect this as of 4/14/20, however they will be updating it soon).  Patient Assistance Program
  • Copay Savings Card:

Sanofi Patient Assistance Program

  • 1-855-984-6302
  • For patients with insurance: Copay Savings Card:
    • Lantus/Toujeo: card reduces copay to $0-99;
    • Apidra: card pays up to $100 of copay
  • For patients without insurance: Valyou Savings Program. $99 per 30-day supply of each insulin type (up to 10 vials (1000 units) or 10 packs of pens (1500 units)); Prices guaranteed for consecutive monthly refills until 12/31/20. Must fill all Sanofi prescriptions together at the same time each month.

Low-Cost Insulin and Supplies Options

 Note: Pharmacies may have restricted hours due to COVID 19

  • Open vials are stable for 28 days. After that point, insulin may degrade and may be less effective.
  • If you are in urgent need of insulin, these insulins are available without a prescription because insulin is a life-saving medication.


  • Novolin N– NPH Insulin (Longer-Acting)
    • $25 per 10mL vial (1000 units)
  • Novolin R–Regular Insulin (Shorter-Acting)
    • $25 per 10mL vial (1000 units)
  • Novolin 70/30 mix
    • $25 per 10mL vial (1000 units)
    • $43 per 5 x 3mL pens (1500 units)

Non-Insulin Diabetes Meds and Supplies

  • Pen Needles: $9 for 50 count
  • Syringes $13 for 100 count
  • Glucometer: $9 each
  • Test Strips: $17.88 for 100 count
  • Lancets: $2.64 for 200 count
  • Generic Medication List
    • Metformin ($4 per 30-day supply)
    • Glimepiride, Glipizide, Glyburide ($4-9 per 30-day supply)
    • Pioglitazone ($15 per 30-day supply)

Non-Insulin Medication Assistance Programs:

Drug Discount Programs: There are many online discount programs to help you find the lowest price for your medications.

  1. Benefits Check Up: Info on programs for limited income seniors
  2. GoodRx: Database of current meds and discounts
  3. Partnership for Prescription Assistance: Assists people without coverage to get reduced price medications
  4. SingleCare: Discounted prices for medications
  5. BlinkHealth: Discounted prices for medications
  6. Inside Rx: Discounted prices for medications
  7. Rx Assist: Database of assistance programs for medications
  8. Familywize: Discounted prices for medications
  9. NeedyMeds: Discounted prices for medications
  10. Rx hope: Advocates in patient assistance programs to help people get meds for reduced prices

Information last revised: 5/5/2020