Diabetes is an expensive disease. There is just no way around the financial burden that accompanies life with diabetes. In an article recently published on Forbes.com, Carolyn MacClanahan discusses the costs of diabetes and mentions a few things that can be done to decrease expenses. She mentions the reduced productivity of those sick with diabetes and the toll diabetes care takes on overall medical costs in the U.S. She also mentions that by having good diabetes control, one can reduce medical costs. This is very true.
While the article includes very interesting statistics and a few good suggestions, what MacClanahan and many other Americans fail to realize is that it costs those of us living with diabetes an arm and a leg just to maintain relatively good diabetes control in the first place. But, it does cost less to take the appropriate steps to create and maintain good control than to fix any complications or correct a catastrophe caused by extreme high or low blood sugar levels.
Expensive Treatment Leads to Poor Control
The daily medication and supplies required to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are extremely expensive, even on top of good insurance. And many insurance plans won’t take someone with a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, which leaves a lot of people paying outrageous amounts of money out of pocket just to stay healthy.
Many people living with diabetes can’t afford to maintain good control because they can’t afford the necessary treatment. This leads to terrible complications down the road caused by poor control over time—complications like heart disease, kidney failure and neuropathy.
If government agencies were as concerned about diabetes reaching epidemic proportions as they say they are, they would try harder to work with the pharmaceutical companies to rein in the patient costs for those living with diabetes. That is where the biggest problem lies. There are many great treatment options available. But the price tag of those treatments is what is keeping many people from stepping up, taking control and becoming healthy.
If the medication and supplies needed for daily care of diabetes were at a more reasonable price, I believe we would see a decrease in complications and deaths caused by diabetes.
Each of us can try to get the attention of the decision makers in Washington and bring awareness to the issue of diabetes costs, but while we are waiting for something to happen on that front we can be making some smaller changes in our own lives to try to decrease the costs as much as we can.
Here are a few ideas that might help:
Making Diabetes Less Expensive
Research Insurance Coverage
First of all, do some research on insurance coverage for diabetes supplies in your area. If you have insurance, make sure that you have the best possible plan to cover your supplies. Be aware that sometimes there isn’t much wiggle room when it comes to insurance plans, but it never hurts to ask. There may be hidden discounts and strings that can be pulled to get better coverage for what you need. If you don’t have insurance, compare the prices to see if you may be able to save a few pennies by getting insurance to help pay for your supplies.
Avoid the Latest Devices
You may be able to save some money by choosing not to go with the latest meter on the market. The less expensive meters often come with less expensive test strips so check your local pharmacy to see if there are any options that could fit within your budget. Again if you have insurance, they often cover one brand of test strips much better than the rest so find the preferred brand that is covered and get a meter that uses those test strips. You can save yourself a lot of money that way.
Ask for Free Samples
If you are trying new medications, you can save some money by asking your doctor if they have some free samples that you could try. That way you don’t have to pay for a whole bunch of insulin or medication that you may not use. Once you settle on the right medication for you, and then look into the pricing options for that particular medication.
Look for Programs
Ask your doctor if there are any programs to help pay for the costs of your diabetes supplies. They might also have some resources that give more options for where to purchase your supplies needed at lower prices. Asking around can be extremely helpful when trying to save some money. Ask those that you know also have diabetes where they get their supplies and how much they pay. They might have some recommendations that can also help you.
Buy Produce In Season
Anyone living with diabetes is encouraged to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as a part of a well balance diet in order to keep good control. Unfortunately, fresh fruits and vegetables are often some of the most expensive items on the shopping list. To cut the costs in this area, try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season as they are often cheaper and will give you more variety throughout the year. You can also look for coupons and price match at many places in order to get the best prices on your healthy food items.
The suggestions above may not cut costs drastically, but they can help save you from paying more than is necessary. Hopefully, these tips can also relieve some of the financial burden that comes with diabetes treatment. And it will give you a sense of accomplishment to know that you are making a difference in your own health—that is what is most important.
To learn more about saving money with diabetes:
7 Ways to Cope with Financial Stress — and Save Your Health
Price Reductions Ahead for Diabetes Supplies
Tips for Talking to Your Doctor about Expensive Drugs and Tests
Diabetes Testing Supplies Home Delivery From Diabetic Connect