There's no getting around it: If you have severe food allergies, you need to keep epinephrine (either EpiPen or TwinJect) on you at all times, begging the question, "If you don't have insurance, how, exactly, are you supposed to pay for it? These drugs aren't cheap, especially if you need to have more than one (say, to keep one at school for a child), and they're not exactly optional.
Here are four options you can pursue to help pay for your epinephrine. Depending on your financial situation, they may help reduce the cost or even help you get these medications for free:
1. Ask Your Allergist
Allergists sometimes receive samples of these medications from the companies that make them. If your financial situation makes it difficult for you to afford them, your allergist may be able to give you one for free. Do make sure, however, that you check the expiration date on these: they are likely to have been on the shelf a while.
2. State Prescription Assistance Programs
Most states offer some form of prescription assistance — usually more than one — targeted at people of different ages or special needs. This website will let you select a plan based on your state. If you move, however, you will need to select a new plan. Check before selecting a plan to see whether a plan available in your area will cover epinephrine; many do not.
3. State-Sponsored Insurance
You may be able to apply for insurance from your state, and this insurance may cover prescriptions. About.com's Health Insurance Guide Kelly Montgomery offers a comprehensive overview of health insurance offerings in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
4. Pharmaceutical Company Assistance Programs
Both Dey, the manufacturer of EpiPen, and Verus, the manufacturer of TwinJect, offer prescription assistance programs to provide epinephrine to consumers who can't otherwise afford them. In some cases, the manufacturers can get you epinephrine for free. To participate in these programs, you'll need to write or call the manufacturers and request help in paying for your prescription, which will usually be delivered to your doctor. Here's more information on the Dey and Verus prescription assistance programs:
2751 Napa Valley Corporate Drive
Napa, CA 94558
Verus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
12671 High Bluff Drive, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92130