Stelara (ustekinumab) is a brand-name prescription drug used for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. It comes as a solution for subcutaneous injection or IV infusion. Stelara’s cost with and without insurance can depend on several factors.
Read on to learn about Stelara and cost, as well as how to save money on prescriptions. If you’d like additional information about Stelara, refer to this article.
As with all drugs, the cost of Stelara can vary. Factors that may affect the price you’ll pay include:
- your treatment plan
- your insurance coverage
- the pharmacy you use
- the cost of the visits to your healthcare professional to receive infusion doses of Stelara
- whether Stelara has a savings program (see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below)
To find out what the cost of Stelara will be for you, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about drug cost and Stelara.
How can I determine Stelara’s cost with insurance vs. without insurance? What about with Medicare?
Your out-of-pocket cost for a brand-name drug is typically less if you have health insurance. If you have insurance, call your insurance provider to see if they cover Stelara. They can tell you exactly how much your prescription of Stelara will cost.
The drug manufacturer has cost-savings programs for both insured and noninsured people. This can help lower your out-of-pocket cost for Stelara.
If Stelara is not covered by insurance, your pharmacist can provide you with the cost of the drug. The price can vary between pharmacies.
If you are on Medicare, your Stelara prescription may need to go through an approval review to receive coverage. Talk with your Medicare representative about getting a coverage review. They can tell you exactly how much your cost will be for Stelara.
What is Stelara’s cost per injection (shot) or per infusion?
The cost of Stelara per injection or per infusion can depend on several factors, such as:
- your insurance coverage
- the pharmacy you use
- your treatment plan
- whether you participate in a Stelara cost-savings program (see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below)
Talk with your insurance provider or pharmacist to get your exact cost per dose for your Stelara prescription. The cost depends on the type of coverage you have. Different pharmacies may also offer Stelara at different prices.
Your treatment plan can also affect your cost. This can include your dosage or the condition Stelara is being used to treat. It can also include whether you receive Stelara as a subcutaneous injection or IV infusion.
If you receive Stelara as an infusion, there may also be costs for the visits to receive your doses. Your doctor’s office can tell you this cost.
If you receive the injection form of Stelara, your pharmacy or insurance provider can give you the cost of your single-dose, prefilled syringes.
To find out the cost of Stelara’s injection or infusion, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Stelara contains the active ingredient ustekinumab, and it’s available only as a brand-name biologic drug. It doesn’t come in a biosimilar version. A biosimilar medication is a drug that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug (the parent drug). Also, biosimilars tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.
WHY ARE COSTS DIFFERENT FOR BIOLOGIC DRUGS VS. BIOSIMILAR DRUGS?
Biologic drugs can be expensive because of the research needed to test their safety and effectiveness. The manufacturer of a biologic drug can sell it for up to
12 years. When the biologic drug’s patent expires, multiple manufacturers can create biosimilar versions. This marketplace competition may lead to lower costs for biosimilars. Also, because biosimilars are very similar to biologic drugs, they don’t require the same costly testing.
If you receive Stelara long term, you may be able to lower its cost by participating in certain programs or exploring other options with a healthcare professional. (To learn more, see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below.)
If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest options that could work for you.
Visit this page to access Optum Perks coupons and get price estimates for Stelara when you use the coupons. These coupons can provide significant savings on your prescription costs.
Note: Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.
If you need financial support to pay for Stelara, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available. For example:
- Programs called Stelara withMe and Janssen CarePath are available for Stelara. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 877-CAREPATH (877-227-3728) or visit the manufacturer’s website.
- Some websites provide details about drug assistance programs, ways to make the most of your insurance coverage, and links to savings cards and other services. Two such websites are:
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.
Now that you’ve learned about cost and Stelara, you may still have some questions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist, who can provide personalized guidance about cost issues related to Stelara. If you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you would pay for Stelara.
Here are some other resources you may find helpful:
- Medicare drug coverage. To learn about Medicare coverage for drugs such as Stelara, see these articles about Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, drug coupons and Medicare, and the Medicare drug list.
- More details. For details about other aspects of Stelara, refer to this article.
- Dosage. Learn about Stelara and dosage by viewing this article.
- Side effects. For details about Stelara’s side effects, see this article. You can also look at the Stelara prescribing information.
- Drug comparison. To find out how Stelara compares with Cosentyx, read this article.
- Information about your condition:
- For information about psoriasis, see our psoriasis hub. You can also view this list of articles.
- To learn about psoriatic arthritis, view our arthritis hub and these articles.
- For details about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), see our inflammatory bowel disease hub. You can also view these articles for Crohn’s disease and UC.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.