How does your insurance deal with desiccated thyroid?

(Though this post was first written in 2011, it has been updated to the present day and time. Enjoy!)

Wendy is one of those gals that tries to adhere to “natural” in regards to her medication choices. She switched over to Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) from Synthroid about three months ago.

The transition was slightly trying, says Wendy. Her doctor didn’t believe her that she shouldn’t be on a low starting dose for more than a couple weeks without upping it. So she went hypothyroid all over again. It’s a common mistake that many doctors make with NDT.

But after successfully upping the dose every few weeks, she will now shout that it’s been the BEST thing in every way! She tells folks that being on Synthroid was like having your hand amputated and replaced with a hook, while being on desiccated thyroid was like having it replaced with a fully functional prosthetic. Her skin is softer, hair is not shedding, her mood has changed in a good way, memory has returned, fogginess has faded. She feels closer to her old self than she has in almost five years.

Now the bad news…

All this time, she only paid $15 for her desiccated thyroid at the local Walgreen’s. But as of April 1st, 2011, it became what is called a Tier 3 drug under her insurance plan–United Healthcare. Exclaims Wendy in outrage and sadness: “This means that the natural drug I love, that has restored my in so many ways that the synthetic t4-only drugs never could, will now cost 85 bucks! Who can afford that?!

And here’s the awful irony when it comes to her insurance plan: Synthroid, the worst medication ever thrust upon us in the treatment of hypothyroid, is Tier 2 (i.e. costs less), and generic T4-only is Tier 1 (costs even less). i.e. if you are under this insurance, you have to pay big bucks to feel a thousand times better. She has no clue why this is happening, but warns that it might start to happen across the board for others as well!

In the United States, most Tiers look like this (and some companies have three tiers, while others have five):

Tier 1 is for generic medications and has the lowest co-pay

Tier 2 is for “preferred” brand name medications, i.e based on “safety, efficacy and cost”, and is the second lowest co-payment. (I put the word preferred in quotes because it’s not based on what changes YOUR life as a thyroid patient.)

Tier 3 is for non-preferred brand name medications or preferred specialty drugs. It’s termed as those drugs which are not typically used as first line of treatment, and have a higher co-pay.

Tier 4 is for specialty medications, i.e those which require special dosing or administration. Highest co-payment.

In the United Kingdom, where the National Health Service (NHS) provides publicly funded health care, there are formularies which specify which medications are available…or not, and one can get Prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) .

In Australia, “Medicare — via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) — subsidises the cost of around 1,700 ‘necessary and life-saving’ medicines. In fact, most medicines available on prescription are subsidised under the PBS, so just by having a prescription filled you receive the benefit of the subsidy.

Does your health insurance cover your desiccated thyroid?








How medical journals affect the prescription practice of your doctor: An interesting article on this found here. And here’s an article about how the author of a medical article fails to state his association with the pharmaceutical of the product he is writing about–one more conflict of interest and influence on your doctor!

Ridiculous! Basing “normal” for Hashimoto’s patients by the TSH, a pituitary hormone, NOT a thyroid hormone: Read it here and weep.

Vit. D can help you stay sharp: So many benefits from optimizing your Vit D, and here’s one with your brain.

Need to talk to others? See all your alternatives here.

Important notes: All the information on this website is copyrighted. STTM is an information-only site based on what many patients worldwide have reported in their treatment and wisdom over the years. This is not to be taken as personal medical advice, nor to replace a relationship with your doctor. By reading this information-only website, you take full responsibility for what you choose to do with this website's information or outcomes. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

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64 Responses to “How does your insurance deal with desiccated thyroid?”

  1. Susanne

    We just switched from BCBS to United healthcare and they have informed me that they are not going to cover my Armour medications. They want me to switch to a (generic) T4 medication. I am livid. I called and was told that my provider would have to acquire prior authorization every 6 months (if it’s approved.) Does anyone have a form or standard documentation for protesting this/ Thanks for any advice or help anyone can offer.

  2. Mendy

    My pituitary tumor was moved, together with my gland. After the surgery, I started levothyroxine, but it does not work, because at the same time, my liver is not healthy and functioning the conversion from T4 to T3. I have no choice but just try natural desiccated thyroid. Last year, the government stop the manufacturing of WP thyroid, and take away the only thyroid effects for me… the synthetic thyroid provides patients only T4 without T3….that is the reason, not adhere to NATURAL….because I WANT TO LIVE ON MY LIFE, and i think i have the right to do so. Even though, I have been so sick, and belong to the few group, I am not ready to die. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE MY desiccated thyroid AWAY, Do not take my better life away.

  3. Glenda

    I just turned 65 and Armour Thyroid is not even on the list for Medicare drugs. So, like many if you, I now have to pay the entire amount. I take 240 mg each day.
    It’s sad how they can just remove it. When I first started taking it the price was 8 dollars for 30 days..
    Costco at this time has the best price.
    I have never had succes with any other thyroid medication!

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Yes, the insurance companies stupidly believe the idea that if you are over 60, NDT is dangerous. Thus, they don’t cover it. No, trying to force the body to live for conversion alone on T4-only has been dangerous for our brain health, heart health, cholesterol health, kidney health…on and on.

      • Pat Davenport

        My doctor used to prescribe synthroid only…….until she met me. When she saw how well I was doing on WPthyroid she herself switched to an NDT. Now we both pay out of pocket.

      • bobbie ingersoll

        What about getting a prior authorization from ones doctor? They always say that we can resort to that, but
        I have my doubts if that will work or not.

  4. Pam

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned, but going to and there are other \\\\\\\”self pay\\\\\\\” discount sites. Search the drug, edit dosage and quantity. These sites will then give you the cost of the drug \\\\\\\”without\\\\\\\” using insurance at the various pharmacies, i.e. Walmart, Walgreens etc. Then select \\\\\\\”get coupon.\\\\\\\” Print or text to phone or email yourself, bring to pharmacy. Hope this helps.

    • Erika

      Hey pam yes this is true im in ny in queens. And i Pretty much have taken all the nature throid in my area. And now i dont have insurance. So i looked in good rx and saw walmart had it. Called them they said it was 98.00 for 150 65mg pills of nt as soon as i showed them the coupon the price dropped to 38.47 at least thats something that i can afford.

  5. Samantha

    I started in natural thyroid 3 months ago , brain fog gone, memory returned, I sleep again!! Fantastic …….. I now find out my script has gone from $90 aust to $160? Chemist says it’s not been able to get any answers from the 12 companies that supply it? Are we looking at a global price fixing ? If your one if these companies here is your chance to answer the question?

  6. Kay Stark

    My doctor put me on NP thyroid cause Aor went up so much. I have United Health Care. I told my doctor to call in Armor cause the other didn’t work for me. WallMart filled it and told me 160.00 for 90 days. Didn’t pick it up yet. Does anyone take Amor and levothyroxine both. I take 90 of armor and 25 mg of levothyroxine..

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Kay, NP Thyroid works wonderfully. So if it didn’t work for you, that can mean you probably needed to raise it. Study this page and the part on how to use NDT and what to look for to find an optimal dose:

      • Janie Bowthorpe

        By the way, there’s no need to combine NDT and Levo. NDT is 80% T4 anyway! By combining them, you now risk having all that T4 starting to convert to more and more RT3, the inactive hormone.

        • Bobbie Ingersoll

          But what if a person can’t handle the high ratio of T3 to T4 in natural dessicated thyroid meds? I have this problem and have been using (for the last 7 yrs, generic levo from Walmart and slow-release t3 from a compounding pharmacy. My doses are 117 mcg of Levo, and 7 mcg twice daily of the slow release T3.

  7. Laura Johnson

    Suddenly I have to get prior authorization from my insurance United Healthcare and this prior authorization was denied. My dr requested 2 prescriptions for me: 15 mg and 60 mg. The 60 mg was denied. We will now appeal this. When I used synthroid in 2009 my TSH was tested at 135.96 – I may as well have been taking nothing. I just contacted Caremark where I get my prescriptions and they suggested the appeal and also mentioned I could get coupons at, and (75% off)

  8. Pam

    Just refilled my 90 day Armour, cost was $65 via mandatory corporate mail order pharmacy. $25 last month for 30 days @90 grams per day. I used to pay about $6. What is going on???
    Both hubby and I are unemooted right now.

  9. Jon

    My Armour increased 50% last year, and its not paid by my insurance. I also see differences in strength from batch to batch sometimes. So as much as I like NDT compared to synthroid, its still not without its problems. In comparison, for the people who do well on synthroid, you are probably paying rediculously little ( a three month supply for me would be a $10 co-pay).

  10. Irina

    I called my insuranceindependent Blue Cross and they stooped providing NP and Armour Thyriod meds. I hate seeing how America changes to worst every year pass, and we have a democratic presedent that is not a help if anything he made it worse, drugs never been as expensive as it is now. So the democracy is also gone from the insurance and the pharma. companies. Sad to see that nothing is done to change it or punish greedy Assholes.

  11. Ellory

    I just tried to get a one month supply of Armour through Walgreens and they wanted to charge me $62.89. I was told my insurance Blue Cross and Blue Shield State Health Plan (NC) will not cover any of the charges, so everything is out of pocket. I am supposed to take 3 30mg tablets a day (90mg total) in case anyone wondered what the charge was for in relation to dosage. If anyone knows of a cheap Canadian pharmacy to order through, or any cheap pharmacy for this drug specifically, I’d much appreciate it. I am currently unemployed and have no income and cannot afford to continue the Armour at this price. I’m calling my doctor in the morning to seek guidance. As an aside, the Armour is not lowering my TSH, so maybe a switch is warranted anyway. My TSH is higher than when I started Armour 10 months ago, and my doctor is puzzled as to why that is. So I was initially taking one 30mg, raised to 60mg and am now on 90mg. I go back in January to see where my TSH is, and hopefully it will go down… but only if I can find a way to afford this drug! Anyone else have their TSH rise with increasing dosages of Armour? It makes me think people are correct about the medication in the US maybe not being as consistent as that made elsewhere (no idea if this theory has merit).

    • Jon

      One thing you could do is to get 90mg tablets instead of 3x30mg. Buy yourself a pill splitter and cut the tabs in half. Take 1/2 pill twice per day. You can probably save 30-40% that way. And I always buy three months at a time since that makes it cheaper too. You can probably save a total of 40%this way.

      And I’ve got to say that Walgreen’s is usually one of the most expensive unless you have a coupon.

      Regarding Armour itself, I have seen some definite differences from batch to batch.

      nother thing you might want to talk to your doctor about is the possibility of adding some T3 to your treatment (do you know whether you have a Rt3 problem?).

    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Ellory, there are many other varieties of NDT besides Armour which work well and cost less:

  12. AdamSmith37

    Have been on Armour for over 15 years thanks to the VA who inadvertently killed my thyroid. After going through all the other synthetic alternatives and at least 15 specialists who tested me for numerous other things from 1999 to 2003, I read research on Dr. Mercola’s web pages and finally found a doctor who gave me a prescription for Armour. Mind you I am allergic to Armour so numerous side effects, but it is the ONLY thing that has allowed me to mimic normality.

    My experience is such that I have learned that most doctors know very little about thyroid so it is necessary to educate oneself and then educate them at every step of the way. Unfortunately I seem to get a different doctor or now a glorified nurse to write me a new prescription each year. I buy a year’s supply because it is cheaper and I have had to pay for every single pill since switching from synthetic T4 and later T4,T3 combo. Now I understand there is also T2 and even T1 which are probably included in Armour and other natural replacements. I was not aware that Armour had changed their composition and have not tried any of the new version as yet. I will probably lean towards trying to obtain from Canada or maybe a local compounder if that is truly the real deal but want to do more research first.

    My father-in-law who is 98 recently developed Congestive Heart Failure where we now have to regularly take him to the hospital to have fluids aspirated surrounding his lungs, and has been demonstrating many of the normal symptoms of hypothyroidism. After nearly begging all of the health professionals in his life, and there are many, my wife and I finally convinced a substitute doctor to run the test after we had previously convinced the lab to draw an extra blood tube for a test we wanted to have the doctor order. The results confirmed my suspicions and his thyroid disease probably caused the CHF — his TSH was nearly 10. We asked them to prescribe Armour because he lives with us and I already have to round it up each year anyway. His pharmacy filled it for a tiny amount of 30 mg per day — I take around 180 mg but have been cutting back to around 150 lately. Then the pharmacy told us that his Medicare refused to pay for the Armour.

    When I went in for my annual physical in August, the “new flavor of the month” doctor was actually a nurse who is able to write prescriptions. She refused to write a prescription for me for Armour until I explained my history and then she said she would write it for one more time only. I told her that the synthetics only cover one or two items, the T4 or sometimes T3 if separately added and explained that between the thyroid gland and two para-thyroids, they produce over 300 natural items for the human body that affect every single molecule in our systems — how can one or two synthetic items supply that kind of hormone replacement?? At least Armour is natural and probably contains many of the other 300 items that the body needs. She was still adamant explaining how all these big pharm institutions had determined that Armour was not good for people.

    Next I explained about all the specialists I had seen and none of them could do anything except send me to another of their buddies who could probably test me for something else. After the last one tested me for myasthenia gravis where they had me on a bed and gave me electrical shocks that lifted me six inches completely off the bed, I said that’s it and no more. I will go into the hills and dig a hole, climb in and pull the dirt over before I go through any more of these “grabbing at straws” tests. That is when I took the few hours per day I could still get up and did research which led me to Armour. It is not a perfect thing, but at least it allows one to function beyond being lethargic and bedridden, which none of the other synthetic versions had done. I was probably close to death at that time and didn’t even know it.

    The other thing that happened back then was that due to the thyroid disease, my metabolism dropped way down and out of the 100 or so symptoms, I hit 96 of them as the other four were for females only. With a low metabolism, one’s cholesterol and triglycerides also go haywire. I went to one doctor about the 2nd or 3rd year I had this and she refused to write a prescription for ANY thyroid hormone replacement unless I agreed to pay several thousand dollars to attend a program to reduce my cholesterol and that is when I decided to return to the VA which I had been boycotting due to the fact that their own incompetence caused this in the first place and they subsequently denied that, but would not produce records as to what they had injected me with. As it turns out, about 3-4 years later, they disclosed that it had been a dye called Omnipaque 300 which was given to me during a myelogram at Minneapolis VA.

    Research on Omnipaque 300 which is widely used even today, revealed that it will kill one’s thyroid within anywhere from 2-15 years and in my case it took around 7 years.
    Even though with Armour I can basically function, I am resigned to the fact that I will NEVER have my strength or drive that I used to have and yes my cholesterol and triglycerides are still off the map but have improved each year as my metabolism improved. I eat one meal a day and a milk breakfast drink to take my morning pills. One doctor told me that if my temperature was below normal over an average period of 3-4 days, then I needed to slightly adjust my dosage and that has worked for me. When I tell this to other doctors, they give me that “deer in the headlights” look and then discount it as nonsense and want to know who the doctor was that told me that — I tell them I can’t remember but do not want to reveal it because it is not important since this works. I also learned on the Mercola website that the half-life of T4 is six days but the half-life of T3 is six hours, meaning I need to try to take half the Armour each at 12 hour intervals or close to it.

    Now though, my father-in-law at 98 who has lived with us for nearly 2 years, still has his mental faculties but has been in the hospital three times since August due to the Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) which I believe was caused by his thyroid and numerous health professionals ignoring all of the thyroid-related symptoms — his hands and feet are icy and he is exhibiting at least 30-40 other tell-tale signs. Each time he is released from the hospital, he has lost a lot of weight and it takes us a long time to get him to recover from having been in the hospital. It takes many, many hours to deal with this situation and we have to cover many of the costs which will probably bankrupt us unless some miracle shows up soon. They tell us he cannot qualify for a nursing home and there are no vacancies at any that we checked in our state. Also, most of them and probably all cannot deal with all of his medical conditions and his dietary requirements, and maybe having to pick him up and carry him at times.

    We spend hours at grocery stores reading labels because he has to have low sodium, he has Type II diabetes so we need to count sugars and carbs, and is deaf in one ear but can hear somewhat in the other with a hearing aid which seems to need a new battery all the time. He has wet Macular Degeneration so he cannot have aspirin, ginger, or numerous other blood-thinning agents of any kind as it causes his eyes to hemorrhage and will cause him to go completely blind in the one eye he can still see out of and needs to regularly have and injection in the eye to keep it from getting worse. The hospital routinely ignores the Eye Institute warnings so we had to be there regular to keep them from doing this further damage and then they release him back to us to deal with an even more complicated situation. We do not have a handicap-friendly home so are now faced with trying to ramp up this at our own expense with no extra budget as well. Medicare is now sending out a physical therapy specialist once or twice per week and a nurse but they say they can only do this for a few weeks maybe a month and after that we are on our own again, although social services may help some after that. I too am disabled so am limited as to how much I can offer and my wife still works but also has limitations — we are both 64. Our three children have moved off and are dealing with their own lives.

    I think life in general is way out of whack and everywhere you turn people are making serious mistakes whether in the medical field, government, banks, etc. I call this “the dumbing of America” where people are now accustomed to getting a job only for the paycheck. The fact that they have to also do some work and be responsible is a side-effect that must be overcome by evasion or blaming someone else, faking it or whatever. People are disillusioned by the inability of our government to effectively fix anything and yet we have to pay taxes to keep the thing going in the wrong direction which by all appearances may be heading for a serious reset or collapse. Politicians promise the world to get elected and then are unable to effectuate much of what they promised. It goes on and on so all we can do is pray, in hopes that somewhere out there in the other realm answers to our plight might be revealed. Most people who have never had to go through such an ordeal are indifferent and cannot relate. GOD HELP US ONE AND ALL!!

    • Kay Latona

      Well, Adam Smith, I couldn’t agree with you more! I have not had to deal with all the problems you have had to deal with, but I’ve had to deal with enough of them that I thoroughly understand exactly what you are talking about. The whole experience is thoroughly frustrating & also disheartening. I, too, believe our government will be falling down around our ears in another 20 year, if it lasts that long.
      I have argued with so many doctors over the year that I have found the way to deal with them is by being really persistent and on the edge, but not over it, of being nasty. The one thing I always include in my argument is that I would rather die sooner from heart disease than spend an added 10 years feeling REALLY bad every hour of every day.

    • Angela

      Adam Smith, I agree with you 100%. You hit the nail on the head. Big Pharma has its multi-billions of dollars to rake in, and so of course NDT is not good for their pocketbook. They have the doctors in the palm of their hand, and they too have been greatly dumbed down. When will more people learn that this is all about money, about greed? Greed is something that is never satisfied in those who have it, and they continually want MORE and MORE. There is no love in that, and so the rest of us suffer trying to be free and getting the help we need. People need to wake up to what is really happening.

  13. Wendy

    On 3 grains of Armour. I’m disabled and on medicare. I am also on extra help, but they still won’t cover my Armour! Ugh, I feel like refusing to take anything! Going back to synthroid is something I just can’t do! I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer got a double mastectomy and have 2 types of cancer. Found out in my research that most women that get breast cancer also have thyroid issues…I wonder of its from taking synthetic thyroid meds? I was on synthroid for years and felt horrible! Armour made a huge diffence! My doctor wrote my insurance, they agreed to pay for 2 grains, but only for 10 days at a cost of 25.60 for those 10 days. How is this suppose to help me? I have to take 3 grains every day! I even tried a program that helps you with your meds, but I’d still have to pay 25.00 month. For me that’s a lot of money. I can’t believe I have to take these meds. What happens if I stop taking them?

  14. Angela

    Hi All. I just found that Meijer’s Pharmacy charges only $138 for 360 tables of 60 mg Armour Thyroid/$42 for 90 day supply. That is the cheapest I have found anywhere! This is without insurance.

    • Mary Merritt

      Could you give me the information for Meijer’s Pharmacy (number, address ect…( Thank You!

  15. cynna

    COST OF ARMOUR RISING RAPIDLY… 3 months ago I paid $65 cash (non insurance) for 90 tabs @ 120 MG. Today, I paid $98.36. I checked Good RX and all the pharmacies have prices within a $5 range of what I paid. It’s total BS. And yet, I WON’T GO ON A SYNTHETIC FORM of T3/T4.

  16. Danita

    Try the phone app GoodRX. It shows Armour as $18 for 30 60mg tablets. This has been amazing for me as a daily migraine suffer. I can get the Maxalt for usually $25. Where it used to cost almost $500. Seriously, this app works just like those prescription cards you get in the mail.

  17. Marta

    What troubles me is that we need a prescription from a doctor, and must get it at a pharmacy and yet the drug is not covered by any drug plan. It’s not that I pay that much at Target, but it means that it doesn’t count toward my $310 deductible. The plan is the Rx Saver Plan through UHC, the least expensive plan I could find. Other than Armour, I take no medications. I have Myalgic Encephelomyalitis aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Many drugs and supplements don’t agree with me. I’m concerned that the problem may be thyroid, but my doctor says my numbers are good.

    I saw a natural health practitioner last year who told me that Armour Thyroid is the best for those who need a thyroid med, but that made in the US is not consistent. She urged me to get it from Canada. She also told me to bite the Armour pill in half and chew half of it. This has seemed to help, so I still get the drug from Target.

    I heard that AARP is trying to get them to keep this drug tier lower for us. I hope they can. Does anyone have regular needle biopsies from a endocrinologist? I have a friend who thinks they’re a necessity.

    • Maureen

      I had a needle biopsy some years back and it was pure hell!
      Why? I was given only a shot to numb the area; adams apple and they refused ahead of time to administer a spray that numbs an area; forget the name and the tech push down with this big needle and I nearly chocked to death and the results? Inconclusive…
      I toldn the dr. that was the first and last time I would ever have a needle biopsy!

  18. Marianne

    I am on disability and my prescription coverage is a part D Medicare plan and what is not covered by Medicare can be covered by Medicaid. Medicaid in Massachusetts pays for Armour. No idea how they can do this with a drug not FDA approved. Pharmacies can dispense Armour and drugs with the same formulation because of their proven safety, as Armour has been used since 1903 and was the first thyroid hormone used to treat hypothyroidism. I am fighting with Medicare to pay for my Nature-throid. I am allergic to Synthroid and Armour thyroid. I am currently taking Armour thyroid and have to take tons of Benadryl, but at any moment I could unexpectedly go into anaphylactic shock, risking my life. My entire body is scratched to death and bleeding, a potential breeding ground for all sorts of infections. I am literally losing my mind from the itching. I did finally get a refill of my 97.5 mg. Nature-throid and only paid $15 + some cents with one of those non- insurance discount cards you see in newspapers, magazines, and some doctors offices. (a 30 day supply). I am paying $10.99 for a 15 day supply of Benadryl so I can take Armour for free. So it costs me more to take free Armour. Plus,any of my symptoms came back on the Armour, and my TSH went up. So, Nature-throid is best for me. Medicare needs to get their facts straight. The FDA is never going to approve these drugs because it does not need to. The are already grandfathered for approved use as prescription drugs in the US, otherwise no pharmacies or Medicaid (a Federally subsidized program, would be able to dispense or pay for Atmour-thyroid, Nature-throid, or WP thyroid. If Medicaid can legally pay for Armour, Medicare can fix the errors in their regulations. How to get non-insurance discount cards:
    Please note none of the discount amounts are guaranteed and do vary. Some of the cards say for all FDA approved drugs. But Nature-throid goes through, maybe because it is grandfathered. I had the pharmacist run all of these cards to get the biggest discount possible. If MAXIMUS an independent reviewer, does not approve my appeal and make Medicare pay for my Nature-throid, I am going to look into the 90-day supply savings program that CVS has and see how much of a discount will apply with one of the cards listed above. But $15 + cents is very reasonable for Nature-throid 97.5mg. I believe the full price at CVS is around $26 without insurance.
    ANOTHER TIP: make sure when you are filling prescriptions and using health insurance that you find out if your insurance has “preferred” pharmacies or network pharmacies. I have Aetna and they have both. You get the best prices at preferred pharmacies, then network pharmacies may have similar or higher prices and mon-preferred, out of network pharmacies are going to charge the most and some may not accept your insurance BUT with some drugs you could end up with a lower price if you do not use your insurance at all, regardless of the pharmacy, so check some websites and make some calls. Also, many insurance drug plans have mail order pharmacies. My lasts ill order pharmacy was amazing. I got a3 month supply for the cost of one month. So even if your insurance is charging you $30 a month for Nature-throid, maybe if you do their mail order pharmacy you can get 90 days for the $30. Getting your cost down to $10 per month. Go to your instance website, call them or re-read any materials they sent you. Most have all kinds of discounts plus the mail order pharmacy and many have deals with specific pharmacies. If you are on Medicare through disability, try to use your Medicaid for Armour. If you do not have Medicaid, try and get it. Medicaid in Massachusetts (MassHealth), also pays for vitamin D prescriptions for those with a vitamin D deficiency. Cannot recall if I did a prior authorization. Some how my mother, over 65, one dictate has a Medicare Part D plan paying for her vitamin D. They keep denying me payment?? My vitamin D level I crazy low.

    • Maureen

      Since you must take Benadryl; can’t you use the generic of it?
      For example, I buy mine(100 tabs, I think); usually a 2 pkg. at Sam’s Club their brand and it works the same for me.
      why not look into it?

  19. Liz Yorke

    I have been taking Armour Thyroid 90+.25 since 2008 following a total thyroidectomy. Levothyroxine was miserable for me – I could not stay on it. Armour has served me well through the years and I am healthy, at 73 years old. Devastating to find that the price has gone up – I now pay around $84 for my 90 day supply. It is not covered by my United Health care insurance and I have to have this medication to stay alive. FDA needs to know that people do do well and stay well on it, and that small inconsistencies in the product are probably evened out over time in the body. I had far more problems with levothyoxine – heart rate elevations, foggy brain, weight gain, eye puffiness -dragging around – even though my numbers were in normal range. Now numbers are still in normal range but I feel great – I have energy, my weight has dropped to near normal for me, and my brain is awake – never again do I want to feel as I did on levothyroxine.

    • Loretta rood

      It’s all about big drug companies bullying our legislators and the FDA. It happened with my hormone replacement.

  20. Melissa

    Try Nature-Throid, which is a generic form of Armour. Keep in mind that the most expensive part of medication (typically) is the filling part of it. So if your doctor will prescribe a 3 month or 6 month supply, it will save you big time. When I was on a half grain my month supply was $12. When I was prescribed 1 1/2 grains my 3 month supply was $27, and this was at the local grocery store pharmacy, versus Walgreens, Rite Aid, or CVS where I know I can get it much cheaper. My insurance won’t pay for anything natural…including docs that perscribe natural, BUT my hashimotos is worth every penny of natural that I pay for. And I’m not rich or even middle class, organic, vegetarian, or “all natural”. I just want to feel good, and this is the medicine that found my energy and my lost motivation.

    (P.S. From Janie: Naturethroid is not a generic. It’s simply another brand.)

    • Melissa

      Thanks for the helpful information. I am currently on Levothyroxine and I feel like it is not doing what it supposed to be doing. I am thinking about changing to Desiccated thyroid extract, and your post has helped me come to a decision.

  21. Sara

    I finally got drug coverage through a part D supplement to Medicare, but I’ve been told they will not pay for Armour. I only switched to Armour about 6 months ago and for this 1st time in greater than 20 years my lab levels were adjusted, even a bit high….which proves to me I am absorbing it much better.

    So now I’ve been told I need to consider going on Levoxyl or going to a drug from Canada, not sure what it is though. Very frustrating since my body finally got a bit straightened out in that regard, now I face going backwards again. I can’t afford to pay for it.

  22. Randi Hilary

    (Dec 2011) Just got a letter from my health insurer stating “ARMOUR THYROID is one of the drugs that is excluded from Medicare coverage by law” supposedly “under section 1860D-2(e)(2) of the Social Security Act”…when used to treat certain medical conditions…unless it is covered by a plan as a supplemental benefit(!!!). Has anyone else run into this, and if so, what can be done?

    (From Janie: Yes, that is an unfortunate and stupid law. What you can do is buy it full price—it’s cheap.)

    • Donna

      Full price is NOT CHEAP. They wanted $12 for 14 pills at cvs cuz Medicare Part d doesn’t cover it.

      • Janie

        Donna, there was a probably a misunderstanding by you or the Pharmacist, as desiccated thyroid is cheap. i.e. some people are only paying in the teens for a month’s supply of their particular amount. Others in the twenties if they need more.

  23. Lynn M.

    I buy my Nature-throid from The price varies depending on the dosage and how many pills you order at one time. You can get the price from their website.

    I paid $47.22 last month for 270 65 mg. (1 grain) Nature-throid pills. When my refills run out I’ll get my doctor to write a script for a year’s worth of pills so it will be even cheaper.

  24. Johann Mitchell

    I had been getting Armor through my insurance free, but suddenly they started charging me about $6. I called my insurance company and they said that Armor Thyroid “is not an FDA approved drug” so they wouldn’t pay for it.

    According to my pharmacy (CVS) I’m paying full price for it, so if you’re paying more than about $6, I suspect that someone’s making extra money off you.

    Price it at a different pharmacy. WalMart and Target are advertising low prices. Maybe they’d be able to help.

  25. Anita has a 90 day supply of Armour for $36.00.

    Nature-Throid is cheaper. An independent review upheld my Medicare Part D plan’s refusal to cover Nature-Throid because it is not FDA approved and so illegal to be provided. It is too cheap to allow me to appeal further.

    On the other hand,I tried to buy Armour (as instructed by United American) and when insurance was denied, I requested Armour be covered…and it was even though it, too, is not FDA approved last I heard. A 90 day supply will be less than $12 through their mail order supplier Merck Medco.

  26. Elizabeth

    It really sucks for people on disability when insurance won’t cover natural dessicated thyroid and they can’t afford to pay for it – I was charged 33 dollars for 30 90mg Armour Thyroid pills at CVS Pharmacy last fall.

  27. Juli

    Well yes in a way; my insurance pays $4.00 and I pay $20.00 for my Naturethroid – 90 days of 3 grains/day. Last year when it wasn’t available from my insurance, I used K-Mart and paid $25.00 for the same amount. Insurance wants to send me Armour all the time and I had to refuse it before they would send Naturethroid.

  28. Lorie

    I don’t use my insurance for my thyroid meds either. I have UHC+Medco for rx’s. I order across the border and get Erfa thyroid. Right now, the out of pocket expense isn’t an issue. But it sure would be nice if I could deduct all moneys spent on meds + supplements.

  29. Andrew Poretz

    My healthcare (Oxford) does the same thing (my top tier is $75), and as a result, it’s far cheaper for me to use one of the Canada drug sites to get it — $81 including shipping for 100 doses, which is the equivalent of $.81 a day, or less than $25 a month. The site I use though now sends me part Erfa from Canada and part Armour from the U.S. (it was all Erfa for the past six months of medicine.) I’m only in my first month of this combination, so still assessing this change.

  30. DC

    My insurance company has never covered Armour or Naturthroid. I pay out of pocket and only pay $15 for 135 1 grain tablets per month. Less than my copay. Really doesn’t matter if insurance pays for it. It’s cheap.

  31. Dana

    Try a compounding pharmacy. Mine doesn’t file insurance for me, but I only pay around $20 for my armour 90 mg 30 day supply.

  32. Tom

    I quit the VA’s synthroid because it did no good. Armour thyroid has been reformulated, weaker since a year’s absence from the market and now I have my desiccated dried thyroid compounded for me. Regretfully, you can’t trust brand names for thyroid any more.. I’m out of the depression now and taking the weight off once again. You really need the t1, t2, t3, and t4, as well as free t’s.

  33. Karie

    It doesn’t surprise me one bit that United Health Care would do such a thing as they are also my insurance carrier through my employer. In the past year I have wondered why I even bother using them as their prices have gone up considerably across the board. I have adult ADHD and UHC suddenly decided that I am too old to take the ADHD medication that my doctor prescribes me. So yes, I would advise Wendy to check pharmacy retail prices instead of using her insurance. I bet she will find the cost a lot less.

  34. Carrie

    Agree with Marina. At Randall’s pharmacy (or perhaps it’s Safeway in your area) the wonderful pharmacist told me it’s $4 on the Randall’s savings plan (no cost) and $20 on my insurance. Duh, it does not go on my insurance. It’s worth calling around to some pharmacies for price comparison.

  35. Robin

    Is this armour or is it a fake?

    (Robin, Armour is a prescription brand of desiccated thyroid. What you are looking at is an over-the-counter. If you need further feedback, join patient groups from here: )

  36. Robin

    I’m on levothyroxine, just started in like a month ago and now I want to find out about Armour. I’m also thinking I might need a doctor who specializes in hypothyroism but no idea how to find one.

    (From Janie: Robin, go here: And no, you don’t need a doc who specializes in it. You just need any doc who is good enough to prescribe it and based on what we have learned: Go into a doc’s office prepared to guide him or her. YOU are your own best advocate)

  37. DeAnna

    This happened to me as well – same insurance – United HC – but it was more difficult for my pharmacist to also order the Armour. I changed to my husband’s federal policy. I am back on Synthcrap per my internist but wanting to change back to NT to try for a pregnancy. Insurance companies just control everything as our premiums continue to rise.

  38. Marina

    Wendy may do better to not have this go through her insurance. Shop and compare prices at Costco, Walgreens, private pharmacies and see what “an out of pocket” cost might be. Her insurance is the one that is setting the price for her and she may be able to find something far better on her own. I remember paying about $35 for compounded natural thyroid which was not covered under my policy. I use Erfa now and find the price very agreeable even though I don’t run it through my insurance.

  39. karen

    this is so obvious that this is the reason they”reformulated” armour. to be able to charge a whole lot’s all about $ for corporations. we need more protests like in wisconsin


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