Managing Diabetes Costs with High Co-pays or No Insurance

Supplies for managing diabetes – blood glucose monitors, test strips, prescription medications, syringes, etc. – can run nearly $8,000 each year for those without insurance.

Though the number of uninsured Americans declined over the past 12 months, many people remain unable to cover the costs of diabetes care. Plus, some individuals with insurance have co-pay expenses that strain the monthly budget.

Money-Saving Tips

Dr. Irl Hirsch of the University of Washington, Seattle, and a type 1 diabetic, offers the following eight tips for keeping diabetes expenses to a minimum:

  1. Be aware of “bad” ways to cut corners and save on diabetes spending. It is dangerous to save money by using “off-shore” blood glucose meters since they might not give accurate readings, using the same infusion set for longer than three days, monitoring blood glucose less often, or using NPH insulin without adequate testing to prevent low blood sugar.
  2. Although common sense and extra care is required, some supplies can be reused or their use extended. Some individuals use the same lancet for a few fingersticks instead of a new lancet for every one. Other people wear CGM sensors more than the recommended period of seven days without experiencing a decrease in accuracy.
  3. Human insulins (e.g., Novolin, Humulin) are much easier on the pocket book than analog insulins. Though many doctors and patients prefer analog insulins, NPH is a choice for those on a tight budget and are less concerned about hypoglycemic episodes. Using human insulin instead of an analog can save people up to $4,900 per year.
  4. Most diabetes medication suppliers have assistance programs for people with and without insurance. Search the websites of your medication manufacturer for information about their assistance programs, or talk to your diabetes care team.
  5. Every pharmacy sets its own price for the medications it dispenses, so prices between them can vary widely. Call around and ask local pharmacies what they charge for your medications, or go to a website such as goodrx.com to locate the most reasonable vendor near you. Big box stores with pharmacies, such as Costco and Walmart, are typically the least expensive. Some people find the best deals at trustworthy online dispensaries.
  6. Buying diabetes supplies (e.g., lancets, test strips, syringes) in bulk can save you hundreds of dollars over time. Online suppliers such as ebay.com and Amazon.com are good sources for bulk supply purchases. Insulin and other medications are also available in bulk (at Amazon, ebay, ADW Diabetes, USMED, Health Warehouse) though the savings are more modest and you have to watch out for counterfeit or expired drugs when a third-party supplier is involved.
  7. Generic insulin analogs are not available yet; however, many generic brands of type 2 diabetes medications are. Buying 60 tablets of 500 mg generic metformin might cost $10, while the same amount of Glucophage can run $80.
  8. Although glucose monitoring supplies are an expense, regular blood sugar monitoring plus healthy eating habits are the best preventative for expenses owed to diabetes complications and possible hospital admissions.

Source: Diatribe
Photo credit: www.stockmonkeys.com / flickr creative commons

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

It is estimated that 80,000 children and adolescents each year are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Juvenile diabetes is diagnosed when the body...

As the summer months come to an end, we throw aside our swimsuits and bring out our favorite team jerseys! In America, fall means football, and...

The medical community relies heavily on the goodwill of its citizens, as giving blood and organ donations help save thousands of lives every year...

Evidence is mounting that consuming black cumin helps to manage type 2 diabetes. The spice lowered blood glucose...

It's not uncommon to spend several years living with type 2 diabetes and not even know you have the condition. Despite regular check-ups with your...

More Articles

Type 2 diabetes has become so common in Western culture and media that this often lifelong, serious condition doesn't really raise an eyebrow...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Lantus is a once a day insulin injection that is taken at the same time every day. It replaces anywhere from the average three to five insulin...

Improving your A1C reading requires you to maintain consistently healthy blood...

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't help your community by being a blood donor. When persons with diabetes maintain good control...

Most of us do not regularly keep the fruit that scientists call Fortunella margarita in our refrigerator. That these small, yellow-orange...

A diagnosis of diabetes usually comes with a list of recommended lifestyle changes. To make these diet and exercise...

Having diabetes affects your body’s ability to handle hot, humid weather, and steamy temperatures can degrade diabetes supplies. But all of this...

Fashion and function come together in clothing developed by AnnaPS, making life a bit more comfortable and convenient for insulin users. The...

Not only is dry skin uncomfortable, but scratched or cracked skin is also susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections – common medical...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Financial aid and scholarship money are available for people with diabetes, but acquiring it requires an investment of time and patience. Whether...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

Smoking is a proven health hazard for everyone, but it is an especially dangerous habit for those with diabetes. Research shows that smokers with...

While life on the road can be tough on musicians, it’s especially challenging for those battling diabetes. Some musicians have to check their...