Good health is your wealth. But if you have diabetes, you know that the rising prices of medications, supplies and co-payments can deplete your bank account. How familiar are you with money-saving tips for cutting the costs of diabetes care? Test yourself with this quiz.
1. On average, people with diagnosed diabetes spend over four times more on their healthcare than those without diabetes.
2. Drugstore prices for identical medications can vary.
3. In comparing insurance plans, which of the following options should you consider to make cost-effective choices?
A. Coverage for prescription medicines.
B. Co-payments and deductibles.
C .Coverage for medical supplies and devices.
D. All of the above.
4. Which of the following is NOT a safe strategy to help you save money on diabetes care?
A. Comparing prices of diabetes supplies and buying in bulk.
B. Looking for doctors in your insurance provider’s network.
C. Sharing supplies such as insulin pens with family members.
D. Comparing pharmacy prices of medicines and asking your doctor about lower-priced medicines.
1. False. According to research released in March of 2018 by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), people with diagnosed diabetes spend 2.3 times more than those without the condition each year. The average medical expenditures for people with diagnosed diabetes is $16,752 per year, with approximately $9,601 directly due to diabetes.
2. True. Medicine prices vary quite a bit for the same drugs. According to a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the price of the same prescription drug can vary by thousands of dollars depending on where you buy it. The study surveyed hundreds of drugstores and found significant differences in price for identical drugs. You could save $100 to $5,400 a year just by shopping around, based on the report. So spend a little time bargain shopping to protect your health — and your wallet!
3. D. Diabetes management can be pricey, and most people need help paying for their care. Shop around, because health insurance companies are not allowed to refuse to cover you or charge you more if you have diabetes when your new health coverage begins. While evaluating different plans, consider asking the following questions: Is your preferred doctor in the plan’s network? Does the plan cover all the medications, supplies, lab tests and devices that you need to be healthy? What percentage of the costs does a plan pay? Does the plan cover any potential specialists you might need? Finally, be sure to ask for a Summary of Benefits and Coverage.
4. C. While you can safely reuse some of your own supplies, it is NOT safe to reuse or share any supplies that puncture your skin, such as insulin pens or finger-stick devices. This could put you at risk for dangerous infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers many safe ways to save money. Call different pharmacies to find the least-expensive medication, and ask your doctor about cost-saving approaches such as using a generic medication, getting a prescription for a higher dose of a medication and cutting the pills in half, or getting combination pills. Compare prices for medical supplies and be sure to use reward programs and buy in bulk. Your doctor may also have samples of supplies to give you. Use doctors in your network and medications covered by your insurance provider. If you do not have insurance, there are options such as online drug discount programs and free or reduced-cost clinics.
Want to learn more about saving on your diabetes care? Read “Save Money on Medicines,” “Stay Healthy On a Budget” and “Do’s and Don’t’s for Saving Money With Diabetes.”