Stay Up to Date! Like us on Facebook  and Twitter  for the latest news and announcements    

Paying For Prescription Formula: "Thinking Outside the Can" part 1


Dear Red Tape,

My son is 8 and he has life-threatening food allergies and a clinical diagnosis of Mito.  He needs to drink Neocate Jr. for nutrition.  Our private health insurance doesn't cover it, and we make about $50 over the monthly income limit for Medicaid.  Some weeks I have to choose between buying my son's formula and paying a utility bill, or buying healthy food for the rest of the family.  Is there any way that we can get a discount on his formula?  Help! 

Jen in Texas


Dear Jen,

Your family is certainly not alone in the fight to make drastic financial decisions in order to provide medically necessary nutrition to your child.  Nutritional supplements are expensive, and elemental formulas can easily cost more than a thousand dollars per month.  For many children who require supplemental nutrition or specialized elemental formulas, vouchers can be obtained through WIC and the Federal School Lunch Program, and new state legislation requiring private insurances to cover medically necessary formulas and supplements exists in thirteen states and is being lobbied for in two more.

Private insurances are often able to choose whether or not to coverage a specific medical treatment, procedure, diagnostic test, or medication for cost-containment purposes, and prescription formulas are often left to the family to pay out-of-pocket.  Still, it doesn't hurt to appeal your insurance's decision.

 Reimbursement Legislation  Efforts are underway to create laws that mandate private insurance companies to cover the costs of medically necessary formulas. Children's Milk Allergy and Gastrointestinal Coalition (MAGIC) is committed to promoting healthcare coverage and reimbursement of amino acid-based elemental formulas for children who are unable to consume a natural, life-sustaining diet due to various allergies or diseases. Children's MAGIC is composed of parents, organizations, institutions, and like minded individuals. For more information, visit MAGIC.  As of September 1, 2009, Texas laws require private insurance to cover medically necessary formulas, congratulations!  The other states that have this requirement are Arizona, Connecticut,  Illinois,  Maine,  Maryland,  Massachusetts,  Minnesota,  New Hampshire,  New Jersey, New York,  Oregon,
 and Rhode Island.  (Click on each state for more information.)

Letters of Medical Necessity The major formula companies offer templates for that can be downloaded and submitted by your child's physician. For general insurance reimbursement tips, click here.

Here is the sample letter for your son's formula, Neocate Jr. 

Nutricia North America makes Neocate and several other highly specialized formulas for a wide range of metabolic conditions.  Two more products that you may recognize are EO28 and duocal.  To view "Hints and Tips for Successful Reimbursement of Special Formulas Taken Orally or Via G-Tube," click here.

Ross/Abbott produces a long line of nutrition supplements and special medical formulas.  Some of their most popular products are EleCare, Vital Jr., Juven, Pediasure, Ensure, Glucerna, and Polycose.  Templates of medical necessity can be found here.

WIC is a federal program that provides nutrition assistance to pregnant women, infants, and children to age 5.  Families must meet income guidelines.  WIC provides vouchers for free medically necessary formula.  For information about eligibility and covered formulas and medical food, click here: WIC

The Federal School Lunch Program is required to provide accommodations for students with  developmental and special health care needs, including nutrition needs.  Your child may qualify for federally subsidized specialized formula given during school hours.   The USDA Guidance Manual "Accommodating Children with Special

Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programs" explains the school food service role in providing meals to students with special dietary needs. For a complete copy of this USDA manual, click here:  USDA


Next week: "Thinking Outside the Can" part 2; coverage for adults, medicare and Medicaid, uninsured and under-insured patients;  Pharmaceutical companies' financial and product resources;  Private non-profit organizations that may provide financial assistance for nutritional supplements and special formulas; Links to enteral/parenteral nutrition resources including special medical diets, tube feeding support, parenteral nutrition support 


See Also - Financial Assitance for the Mito Cocktail, Useful Websites, Prioritizing Financial and Medical Needs


red-tape's picture



Free Formula, Tubefeeding Supplies!

Hi Everyone, I just came across some information about a non-profit group that is currently overrun with formula and feeding supplies and is looking for people who are in financial need of them. The information is below:

I am a volunteer with Katy's Kloset Equipment Lending Library. We are located in Waukesha WI and are open every Saturday 10-1. If any readers are in the area please stop in to see what we have to offer or call for specific items. We have a wide variety of equipment and supplies, all free of charge. We have a lot of feeding bags right now and I could send some out to anyone in need, all I ask is a donation to at least cover the cost of postage. We are non-profit and rely on donations to keep our doors open.

Neocate Jr powder (lots), Ross TwoCal HN liquid (3 cases), Duo Cal (powder, one can), Nutramigen Lipil formula (lots) expire 5/10, Similac Advance (lots)

 Feeding bags include: Zevex EL 1200, Zevex EL 0500, Zevex Infinity INF0500, Kangaroo 500 ml, Kangaroo 1000 ml, Kangaroo Joey 1000 ml, Kangaroo Easy Cap Closure 1600 ml, Kangaroo EPump 1000 ml. Also have several boxes of No Sting Skin Prep Pads.

Please let me know if any of these are needed and your zip code. I will advise you of shipping charge and can arrange payment. I do have Paypal. Pat 262 370-3355