Diabetes affects everyone differently. But the one thing everyone can probably agree on is that living with this disease can be expensive. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you could face out of pocket expenses, even if you have insurance coverage.

Beyond medications, doctor visits and the cost of meters and test strips, there can be the added expense of a healthy lifestyle. This could include everything from the cost of exercise and stress management to fresh, un-processed foods.

The American Diabetes Association reports that people with diagnosed diabetes have average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. In fact the medical expenditures of people with diabetes are about 2.3 times higher on average than people without the disease.1

Consider Buying Your Monitoring System Over the Counter

As you may well know, an ongoing cost of diabetes management is the recurring need to purchase test strips. If your out of pocket costs for blood glucose test strips are high, you might benefit from buying your test strips over the counter. Until now you haven’t been able to buy meters and test strips from leading brands over the counter at accessible prices, but now the FreeStyle family of products includes a glucose monitoring system available over the counter, without a prescription. The new FreeStyle Precision Neo meter and test strips provide patients with a quality alternative to using insurance and paying high copays for blood glucose test strips.

You can find the FreeStyle Precision Neo meter and test strips at major retailers or drugstores in the diabetes supplies section or you can buy them online. Prices may vary, but the MSRP for 50 test strips is $21.99.

For those of you who have a high copay for blood glucose test strips, this might be the more affordable option you’ve been looking for. To see how much you might save with this over the counter option, you’ll want to compare the total cost of all the systems you’re considering. Factor in both the meter cost and the ongoing expense of test strips.

Stick to Your Treatment Plan. It’s Money Well Spent

Fortunately, there’s plenty of proof that taking great care of yourself pays off in the long run. If you check your blood sugar levels less frequently than your doctor recommends, you’re really just short changing yourself. The cost of routine care may turn out to be significantly less than the costs of complications brought on by unmanaged chronic illness.2

Even though you may not always feel in control of your healthcare costs, the good news is that – ultimately – you are in charge of your health and wellbeing. The best way to control out of pocket costs is to understand your treatment plan, know your options for testing, and make smart choices for your lifestyle.

1- http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy/news-events/cost-of-diabetes.html Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012, commissioned by the Association Diabetes Association
2- http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/3/476.full Lifetime Costs of Complications Resulting From Type 2 Diabetes in the U.S., Caro, J., Ward, A., O’Brien, J.