How expensive is it to take care of yourself

By mjhorgan Latest Reply 2014-03-25 10:36:29 -0500
Started 2014-03-11 19:05:02 -0500

Sometimes I feel it is just so dam expensive to take care of myself. All the diabetes supplies, sensors, strips, infusion sets, syringes, Novolog, etc. Sometimes the bills show up at the same time and it feels just way to expensive. When will the cost of diabetes care ever stop.

55 replies

Nitabugg 2014-03-17 18:57:09 -0500 Report

Thank goodness I finally have insurance!!!!! yaaay, but you wouldnt believe how much medical debt I have:((( And my insulin before was outrageous!! It is still a bit outrageous…I am taking Lantus, Novalog and Synthroid regularly…FOOD …i get sad at how expensive it is to eat healthy!! :(

haoleboy 2014-03-16 19:19:45 -0500 Report

my total cost is $18 (+/-) a month for test strips. my insurance now covers my metformin but before that I paid $4 a month for that at Walmart. obviously I am type 2

lindajpc 2014-03-16 11:59:24 -0500 Report

Yes, this is very expensive to be diabetic. We all need to share ideas on how to make it work. For example we (hubby and I) have decided to garden this year as much as possible rather than go to markets, which I've been doing for the last several years. I get exercise as a plus. I can & freeze as much as possible, so I can have some control over what is in my food. And eating out just doesn't happen anymore. First of all to control my blood sugar and the fact I don't want to take my insulin in public, just yet. I can save money and my health. It's the time and planning that is the real problem. I also went old school on my meds. Vials and syringes for me. Tried generic supplies some worked for me others didn't. Much trial and error.

theladyiscrazy 2014-03-16 19:01:28 -0500 Report

I am in the process of building a greenhouse so that we can extend our growing season. I also have learned to water and pressure can, so I am able to do all types of foods. Yes, it is very much a trial by error type thing, even in figuring out which foods we can and cannot eat.

harry1 2014-03-15 09:34:10 -0500 Report

The biggest thing that ticks my off is the cost of food. These companies know that they got diabetics by the butt. We need low carbs so what do they do ? They put less in the container and charge us more money for it. Its a catch 22 we are dam if we do or dam if we don't.

JaredLahti 2014-03-16 14:47:28 -0500 Report

I have found that if you shop the perimeter of the stores so dairy, produce and meats that you can save money that way. The key is looking through ads every week and buying at the cheapest prices possible. Invest in a deep freezer too so u can stockpile at those cheap prices. I have also found that SAMs club and Costco carry meat for cheaper than local grocery stores typically.

theladyiscrazy 2014-03-14 08:22:50 -0500 Report

It is. Between medications and then having to buy the food (which eating healthy is way more expensive than eating junk) it adds up. Not to mention, those of us that are on multiple meds for diabetes (four myself) AND other health issues, which of course requires regular doctors visits. Then you add in family members who have medical things, etc etc etc. It does come down to trying to decide what do you pay. Do you eat poorly (cheaply) and increase medications? Do you eat correctly, but not be able to afford the meds and/or doctors appointments? It is frustrating. Then add insurance into it who may or may not cover a certain med or even certain meters. They have specific ones they want you to do. I know our insurance will not cover things like a dietician any longer. FRUSTRATING. I don't know about others, but sometimes when I pick up my meds, with the cost I have to pay, even with a co-pay, I feel guilty that I have to use so much of our budget for that.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-14 10:48:44 -0500 Report

The lady, I said that on this post that there are options that occur and was told there are no options. At any rate, there are people who make those choices everyday.

We live in a Food Desert. This means there is not adequate access to fresh foods. Food Deserts occur when supermarkets close in areas. Food Deserts occur in many major cities and small towns where people have to leave the area where they live to go to a supermarket.

This creates an added burden on people because they tend to go to small stores to buy food that often is not cheap and not fresh. Added to their budget is now the cost of transportation to get to a better store were food may cost higher than if it were where they live.

This also creates options for them. Do I buy the fresh fruit and produce or canned fruit and produce to save money for other things. As you said, if there is more than one person in the household with a medical condition that requires regular visits to doctors along with co pays, the money adds up just for medical care.

Farmers Markets will be opening here soon. I supplement my food budget buying fresh fruits from them. I buy spinach, kale and collards green beans and freeze them I have that for the summer and then replace for the winter months. I make large pots of chili and soup and freeze it. During the holidays when turkeys and hams are on sale, I buy two and freeze them for later in the winter. It saves on my food budget.

I can't tell you to not feel guilty. That is something you have to work on. I don't feel guilty about having an illness. We don't know what is going to happen with our health. We can do the best we can with what we have to take care of it.

theladyiscrazy 2014-03-14 14:15:00 -0500 Report

Just Joyce, I do do things that help in the grocery area. I perserve my own foods during summer. When we can, we grow food items. I have found a local food auction from local farmers to attend (with lots of other individuals). When things go on sale, I try to buy extra then. HOWEVER, that does not negate that things are expensive. My food budget, even with this strategies, has gone up over the last couple of years do to prices of food going up. It is still cheaper to buy a lb of regular white pasta than a lb of apples. One is better health wise, but the other goes farther to feed a family. We just discussed in diabetes class last night that it is cheaper to go through the drive-thru and get a burger and fries off the dollar menu than it is to go and make the burger and fries at home. The former is so bad for so many reason, yet many are forced to choose that option just so they can feed their families. Add in health problems, and it is a huge problem.

JaredLahti 2014-03-16 15:00:37 -0500 Report

I would disagree that fast food burgers are cheaper than making them at home. Let's take an example. In San Antonio mcdonalds cheapest burger is .1 pound for $1. At Costco you can buy a pound of meat for 3.19 which would come out to .32 cents a burger. A whole wheat loaf of bread is $2. That is like .10 cents per two pieces of bread. Mustard, ketchup and pickles are relatively minor in cost. I would say with the savings that you could add dark greens and tomatoes to the burgers.

Fries are roughly $2 for a bag of frozen fries which cooked would make roughly 4 of the dollar size fries. If you bake those frozen fries you have kept them as decently healthy item as well.

It seems like you pay more because you may be buying multiple days worth of food rather than one meal at a time. I have never run into a situation where a fast food place is cheaper than cooking it yourself outside of getting it for free.

mjhorgan 2014-03-14 08:35:37 -0500 Report

Not even counting the cost of insurance, which for me is well over $372 per month. My average monthly cost of taking care of myself is almost $400 per month. This include sensors, strips, insulin, medications, Dr visits and lab work. I know the cost to me of not spending this money would be tremendous, the consequences horrible. The financial cost out of my packet is still very high. My cost occasional goes up when I have to have special test or procedures related to my diabetes. When these I get a bill from the hostipal that is sometimes schocking.

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-03-13 10:29:21 -0500 Report

It's only going to get more expensive. There is not going to be a 'cure', but more effective treatments. The artificial pancreas will work, on what scale I don't know, but that is 2 pumps, an iPhone, and a CGM, all with expensive software and replaceable sensors, infusion sets, insulin,glucagon, etc. Not to mention the follow up medical care, you will probably need a full IT team.
Some stem cell therapies are showing promise, but those will need immunosuppresion and a whole new set of concerns.
I love the new advances and the possibilities they offer, now if we could just figure out the funding, not only for the research, but the day to day practical use.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 10:16:08 -0500 Report

The pharmaceutical company's need to spend more money and time to research effective but less expensive diabetes care options. At the rate the cost of taking care of diabetes is going up, many people will become shut out of taking care of themselves.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 09:51:42 -0500 Report

James asked a very valid and valuable question. "How much would it cost us NOT to take care of our diabetes? What is more important. Taking care of your health and pay a modicum amount of money per month or not take care of it and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for all the complications that occur when you don't?

Yes paying out of pocket for medications with no insurance can add up. Even with paying co-pays can add up but the main question is, don't you think your health is worth that?

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-13 12:26:28 -0500 Report

I agree that it is worth it. There is only one problem. I have met people that absolutlely can't afford it, they don't have the money. For example, If I had to choose between my children starving I would choose my child, any mother would. Thankfully I have never had that problem, and I have helped this lady out when I could spare some money. I feel if my needs are met then I can help others. I am retired and not rich, but I do what I can. This person has finally gotten on disability, but I am sure this does come up for people now and then in this day and time. So even though I agree that taking care of our self is most important, I do see that there are circumstances that could change that sometimes.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 09:55:36 -0500 Report

That's right. We all know not taking care of ourselves would cost more. The price of not taking care of ourselves would be horrible. That still does not get around the fact that taking care of ourselves is extremely expensive. I was not trying to suggest one option or the other. The basic fact is that diabetes care is extremely expensive. This is something that we all need to be aware of, and our health care providers, and lawmakers need to be award of this as well.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 10:23:44 -0500 Report

Taking care of your house, car, buying food, raising a child are also expensive. Would you stop doing that because of the cost. There are options no matter how you look at it. There are people who make a choice every month. They choose between paying rent, paying for gas, electric and water over buying medications.

I don't think it is fair to just be focused on the cost of diabetes care. Diabetes is not the only health problem that is costly. In my opinion, I think it is unfair to want specialize cost simply because of diabetes. What makes being diabetic cost more important to being a heart or cancer patient? Their medications per month can cost far more than diabetic cost.

Don't you think health care providers and lawmakers are aware of this? If not have you sat down and written a letter to your State and Federal lawmakers to make them aware of the cost of taking care of diabetes? If not then you can't say we all need to do anything. I for one write letters to my Federal representatives. I know all of my State representatives because I am in constant contact with them on community issues and know them personally and professionally. We just went to the State Capital for an evening with them and the Governor an we testified last week at the State Capital for funding for our community. I will see my Congressman tonight. I will ask him about the cost of diabetes care and see if he is interested in finding ways to lower the cost. Odds are with all that is going on, diabetes will not be a major concern which is understandable.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 10:30:22 -0500 Report

Yes they are all expensive, but the cost of diabetes care if expensive to. I am not being unfair, I merely stated a fact that sometimes (see my post) the cost of diabetes care is just so dam expensive. I know everything is expensive, but this being said. This includes diabetes care.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 10:40:15 -0500 Report

So the cost of diabetes care is expensive. There is very little you can do about it and if you want to be healthy, isn't paying the price worth it?

You are holding ski's look at the cost of that with new gear, travel expenses, lodging, upkeep of equipment and replacing new equipment. Do you pay for that or complain about the cost? I am asking just as a comparison. Look at it this way. When I was a teen earning money during the summer pumping gas at my uncles gas station, gas was .59 a gallon. When I started driving it was .98 a gallon. Look at the price now. Everyone still pays the price because they want to drive their cars.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 11:03:52 -0500 Report

It is so unfair how some people make judgements on you based on how you look in a photograph. They like to stereotype people from based on their appearance

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 10:48:55 -0500 Report

Ok so now you are being ridiculous, SO you are saying that because I ski. This is exercise you know. That I am not allowed to comment on the cost of care.. Get your head out of the gutter and have a productive conversation.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 12:11:09 -0500 Report

First you accuse me of doing something based on a picture which made me think it wasn't you. Then you admit it is and that you apparently ski for exercise. Then you didn't answer the questions. Pay close attention, I made a COMPARISON not a judgement or a stereotype. Learn the difference.

The same thing happened when something was said about your promoting your wife's business. You got mad and wanted to leave the site. I did not judge or stereotype you.

So what if it is exercise, you still pay the cost of doing it don't you? Why personalize something and get bent out of shape.I see now that you ask questions but take things personally and not answer them.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 12:33:51 -0500 Report

I also offered to leave the site because so many people said I violate the conditions of the site. I was just trying to do the right thing.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 12:31:00 -0500 Report

Oh and my wife was not promoting a business. If you read, you would have seen that she was just giving a FREE online class. Just so happened that there was a sign up form to join the class.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 12:24:24 -0500 Report

When have you bother to any the question I originally asked???? Read the original post and try to understand.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 12:22:22 -0500 Report

I merely said that diabetes care was expensive. Is this true or or. To me it is. I really don't care what you expenses are. DO you not say something to yourself when you drive up to a gas station and gas is 50 more per gallon than last month. I said if you read' The sometimes diabetes care is just so expensive" You brought many other topics. You brought up something about the cost of my expensive looking skis Now who is be out of hand. You made a JUDGEMENT based o the cost of my expensive looking skis that I had in my hand.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-14 11:04:16 -0500 Report

What am I going to say when I pay .50 more for gas. I can't change the price of it. I don't stress over things I can't change. I leave that for other people to do.

You are incorrect. I have no idea the cost of your skis nor do I care. This is what I said to you and you can't seem to comprehend that. I said "You are holding ski's look at the cost of that with new gear, travel expenses, lodging, upkeep of equipment and replacing new equipment. Do you pay for that or complain about the cost? I am asking just as a COMPARISON".

Where did I stereotype or judge you???? You won't answer that. I think it is because you accused me of something that did not occur and you don't know how to change it. I am done with this conversation with you. I have found in life that you can not reason with an unarmed person.

Type1Lou 2014-03-12 12:37:24 -0500 Report

I will be transitioning from my BC/BS insurance to Medicare soon. I thought it might be time for me to try a CGM, but in exploring that option, discovered that CGM supplies would be $260 out of pocket per month for me (or $3120 per year), even with the CGM maker's discount because they are not covered by Medicare…so, I probably won't be going that route. I expect to continue to be able to test 8 times per day ($600 per year co-pay for strips currently) and will have a 20% co-pay for my pump supplies (around $1000per year for reservoirs and infusion sets). Insulin is a Tier 3 drug and requires a monthly $45 copay. It does add up.

mjhorgan 2014-03-13 22:30:31 -0500 Report

My average out of pocket cost cost per month for all my care is well above $300per month. Many months is approaches $400 per month. I don't know what some people think but to me that is expensive.

Kimmie's World
Kimmie's World 2014-03-12 08:30:13 -0500 Report

I agree. My victoza is 80.00, and that is with the discount that the company gives. I work for a living, but my insurance is not good at all. I wish there is a better way for diabetics. A special type of insurance just for diabetics.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 10:03:27 -0500 Report

My doctor gave me a prescription for a medication that was $150.00 for a 30 day supply, I asked for a cheaper version. He said that would require me to take 3 pills a day. I said I would rather take 3 pills a day for $20.00 dollars than 1 a day at $150.00.

Why would there be special type of insurance for just diabetics? Heart, kidney, transplant and cancer patients would also want special types of insurance just for them. If insurance companies were to do this, premiums would be higher.

There are diabetics who have heart, kidney and have cancer. if there was a special type of insurance for these diseases, people with multiple problems would be paying far more than if they simply paid for health insurance that covers all of their problems.

jayabee52 2014-03-13 22:06:33 -0500 Report

I take medication for my dialysis that lists around $14K (that's right $14,000). Fortunately the dialysis company subsidizes this medication and I only need to co pay $45.00 per month,

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 10:50:16 -0500 Report

jayabee, I am glad to hear that you have found help with these expensive procedures. My co-pays on my meds. add up to a whole lot more per month than that but I have to admit I do have deceint ins.Thankfully I was able to keep my ins. when I retired. It is really nice to find out that there are companies out there who are willing to actually help people..

mjhorgan 2014-03-12 05:47:33 -0500 Report

Insurance does pay a lot. If I did not have insurance the cost of T1D would be untouchable. Even so the copay's do really add up.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 09:43:29 -0500 Report

I pay out of pocket because I don't have insurance. A friend gave me her mothers lancets after she passed away so I probably have at least 2000 of them in a big jar. I only pay for test strips. Even with insurance my doctor would not give me a prescription for testing supplies because my insurance company limited me to 100 test strips per month. When the company changed insurance companies it went to 50 per month so I still would have to pay out of pocket.

jayabee52 2014-03-12 00:41:16 -0500 Report

But, MJ looking at it another way, how much would it cost us NOT to take care of our diabetes? That is something we could not measure in dollars and cents.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 10:31:12 -0500 Report

James you too the words right out of my mouth. No matter how you look at it there are options. Either you take care of yourself and pay the price or not take care of yourself and pay an even higher price. EVERYTHING in life comes with a cost. Some cost are higher than others. You pay a price, to keep a roof over your head, food in your stomach and power and water. You either pay $200.00 for a pair of pants or $15.00 for a pair of pants.The cheaper pants may not be as good as the more expensive pair but at least your butt is covered.

jigsaw 2014-03-12 07:38:18 -0500 Report

You took the words right out of my mouth! Exactly what I was going to say. That's why, when it comes to taking care of myself, I just do it! I realize that I can;'t afford the price of not taking care. Allthough taking care is a annoying when I get the bill, the rewards that result, are immeasurable.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 10:33:25 -0500 Report

I agree with you Jigsaw. Even though it may be costly, at the end of the day your health is worth every cent and everyday spent above ground with the ability to move around and take care of yourself without aid or minimum aid is a darn good day.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-11 23:20:42 -0500 Report

If I didn't have insurance I couldn't afford the doctors much less the lab, the meds. and the supplies. My co-pays really add up especially a lot of my meds. Immitrex is one that my ins. doesn't pay god on, so are test strips. They offer me a free meter with cheaper strips but like the one I have, so why can't they make the same deal on it?

jayabee52 2014-03-11 19:40:45 -0500 Report

Howdy MJ.
When I was shooting up insulin I can say that it was expensive. So I can relate. You as a T1D it is especially expensive with a pump.

However since I had discovered I could manage my T2D with my meal planning, without the use of any diabetes meds, that has lowered the cost of my Diabetes signifigantly. My only expense is the extra strips I purchase. Of course I have plenty of other "medical challenges" to keep my expenses up.

To answer you closing question of your original post "When will the cost of diabetes care ever stop." My answer: "When one stops breathing."

God's best to you

mjhorgan 2014-03-11 19:33:30 -0500 Report

One of the things you have to wonder about The drug company's don't really want a cure because there is just too much money to be made. I know this is a very broad statement, you just have to sometimes wonder what their motivations really are…

Nick1962 2014-03-13 15:53:30 -0500 Report

Well, on the topic of cost of care, and as the spouse of someone in “big pharma”, you’re right, like any business their motivation is profit. Contrary to popular belief though, it’s not profit at the public’s expense like many alcohol, tobacco or food manufacturers. Curing every diabetic in the US wouldn’t even make a dent.

jigsaw 2014-03-12 07:44:34 -0500 Report

I'm sure they invest more resources into whatever makes the most profit. On the other hand, there are other organizations that do research for cures. I wish they had the wealth and resources of the pharmaceutical companies.

peewee0618 2014-03-11 19:27:15 -0500 Report

It is expensive. My insurance pay for a lot but I still have to pay. I use Victoza and it is $45.00 and that does not include the strips or anything else. Plus I am on other medications that I have to buy. I am not sure that the cost of diabetes will ever stop but maybe it will cost less.

PRINCESS KIMBERLY 2014-03-11 19:11:30 -0500 Report

I can not say much. Our insurance pays everything but $17.00 a month so far. Now if we talk about my clothes, shoes, jewery, & handbags well that a different story.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-13 10:34:57 -0500 Report

LOL wouldn't it be great if we could get insurance to pay for clothing, shoes and handbags? I make my own jewelry so I don't worry about that too much although it is expensive.

mjhorgan 2014-03-11 19:47:15 -0500 Report

Wow lucky if you can get away with $17 per month. Now insurance that would pay for all that other stuff, that would be really cool.