According to the American Diabetes Association, the average individual with diabetes will spend over $9,600 a year on medical expenses because of their condition. Even for people with insurance, diabetes can be a massive financial drain. Being diabetic doesn't have to require walking a financial tightrope because anyone can save money on their diabetic supplies, with the right know-how. Great supplies to save on are things like glucose meters, testing strips, medications, insulin, and more.
Different pharmacies often have wildly different prices, even for the same drugs and products. Though everyone can stand to save a few dollars, those managing diabetes without insurance will find this tip especially valuable. Additionally, many websites can help check and compare prices between pharmacies and list the best place to buy specific medications. Keep in mind that certain insurance plans require you to use specific pharmacies, so this may not work for everyone.
Sometimes, the simplest way to save money is to speak with a person with in-depth knowledge of the industry. There is an entire field of people who have received certifications that qualify them as diabetes experts. Many of these certified educators will know a variety of ways their clients can save money on diabetic supplies. Plus, they have connections to doctors and manufacturers that an average person wouldn’t, giving them the ability to recommend certain things not normally available. Many endocrinologists suggest speaking with certified diabetes educators at least once a year.
As technology develops, online shopping becomes easier and cheaper. This includes diabetes supplies. For example, many online stores sell adhesive wipes and glucose testing strips at a much lower cost. They can do so because their selling and shipping process is automated. They don’t have the employee costs that traditional stores have and can pass on the savings to the consumer. There are even online pharmacies that can sell medications and other products cheaper than any standard pharmacy.
Many people have a negative view of clipping coupons, but they are legitimately one of the best ways to save money. Almost every large pharmacy offers coupons, which can drop the prices on necessary supplies like glucose meters. Medication manufacturers will often print their own coupons that are valid at most pharmacies. Manufacturer's coupons can allow even expensive prescriptions to drop in price. Some of these coupons are available in stores, while others require a visit to a healthcare professional or the manufacturer's website.
Smartphones have made many aspects of life easier, and this extends even to purchasing diabetic supplies. Many online pharmacies and diabetes assistance groups have apps that allow people to find savings, deals, and coupons. However, as with many aspects of life, there are some less-reputable companies out there. Thankfully, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has created a list of the most reputable pharmacies, available online.
Saving money here and there on meters, testing strips, wipes, and other supplies is helpful, but it doesn’t tackle the bulk cost of having diabetes. For many people, the cost of insulin is an insurmountable wall. Just between 2012 to 2016, insulin costs in the U.S. doubled. Because of this, some people travel out of the country to buy their insulin or rely on online sources. However, bringing insulin into the U.S. is illegal, and buying insulin from an unverifiable source is dangerous. It is important to keep in mind that legal and safe options are available. Some insulin manufacturers provide coupons that allow people to buy insulin at much lower prices.
Several years ago, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and their connected organizations created an online database of financial assistance programs. This database, the Medical Assistance Tool, allows people to search for a variety of assistance programs for everything from syringes to medication. The only programs that aren’t available are for insulin assistance. A person need only to search for the supplies they need and input a small amount of information. If they meet the qualifications, the database will provide you with financial assistance programs.
Many people get their health insurance through their employer. Some businesses offer flexible spending accounts to their employees. Essentially, the business will take an agreed-upon amount out of an employee’s paycheck and place it into a separate account. This occurs before taxes get calculated, so the employee’s taxable income is lower. Not only does this help save money on taxes, but it also provides an easy way to track medical expenses. Keep in mind that flexible spending accounts have limits on how much they can hold. Additionally, they do not roll over, so employees may lose any money they don’t spend by the year's end. When considering a flexible spending account, be knowledgeable of the risks.
One of the highest costs for people with diabetes are things that their insurance refuses to cover. These expenses are “out-of-network,” meaning that the insurance company doesn’t pay for them. Because of this, their costs can add up fast. Medical billing and insurance is a complex and intricate subject. Surprisingly, there are many loopholes and arguments that can make insurance companies cover expenses that are supposedly out-of-network. There are assistance groups and apps that allow clients to scan and upload out-of-network doctor’s bills. Then, those companies will fight for reimbursement because they have dedicated financial and contract experts. If their fight results in a reimbursement, they take a small cut as payment. If nothing happens, the service is free.
Much like shopping in a wholesale grocer, people with diabetes should seek out free samples. Most healthcare providers and diabetes experts receive a huge number of medications and supplies from companies to hand out. Sometimes simply asking is enough to get supplies that would normally require spending money out of pocket. There are also diabetes conventions, fundraisers, and events where manufacturers and healthcare professionals will hand out free samples.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.