How to safely save money on your diabetes care and supplies
Are the costs associated with diabetes management weighing you down? If so, you are not alone. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States during 2012 was $245 billion, with average annual medical expenditures for people with the condition totaling almost $14,000. Costs for diabetes essentials such as test strips, glucose monitors, insulin, syringes, lancets and healthy diabetes-friendly snacks can quickly add up.
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Often, people with diabetes look for inexpensive solutions or substitutes to help bring down the high costs, but improperly cutting corners can lead to ineffective diabetes management and potential health problems. Here are some safe and effective ways for you to save money on diabetes supplies without risking harm to your health.
Personalize your blood sugar goals
Working with your provider to personalize your blood sugar goals is one way to help save money on medical treatments, healthcare costs and the cost of diabetes supplies. Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center conducted a cost-analysis study that found significant benefits for diabetes patients who had personalized their blood sugar goals. Published in 2017, the study found that treatment plans that had been tailored to the patient’s age and health history were far more cost effective when compared to national standard treatment plans. In fact, people with individualized plans had a lifetime average savings of $13,546 in healthcare costs. Review your goals with your doctor to ensure that you are receiving the best possible treatment with your individual needs in mind.
The first step in combating high costs for essential medications is to survey the prices at different pharmacies. Often, local pharmacies or pharmacies located within doctors’ offices may have higher rates for essential drugs like metformin. A study from Harvard Medical School found that the cost of medicine was a factor in whether seniors received effective medical treatment for a host of conditions, including diabetes. The researchers found it common for patients, especially seniors, to neglect taking pills to make their supply last longer.
One possible solution is to visit websites that can help you find the lowest prices and best deals for medication. The Medicine Assistance Tool at MAT.org is a search engine designed to help find medication and assistance through various pharmaceutical programs. Websites such as GoodRx.com, WellRx.com and PharmacyChecker.com compare prices, potentially offering huge savings when compared to local pharmacies, and you can receive free coupons through text or email straight to your mobile device. GoodRx additionally provides a mobile app that can send you reminders and updates on deals on your specific medications, along with information on where to find them. The website promises to help you save up to 80% on most prescription drugs across the United States and can provide coupons within the app that can be used at any pharmacy.
WellRx is another company that promotes easy access to essential medication at a reduced rate by searching for the best deals in your location. The WellRx savings card is accepted at 65,000 chains and retail pharmacies across the country and can provide you with price alerts in your area.
Finally, PharmacyChecker is another great site that provides updates and alerts on savings in your area. It promises savings of up to 90% on prescription medications through their price comparison feature and savings card. More importantly, PharmacyChecker provides online verification of all savings to ensure you are only given information on deals for medications that are accurate and safe. PharmacyChecker has a team of experts that you can interact with online if you need help finding affordable medication. All three websites have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Test strips can be pricey, but there are a number of ways to bring down the cost. First, comparison shop on various websites and in stores. Amazon can often provide brand-name products at cheaper prices, sometimes with discounts included. For example, a box of 50 or 100 strips can easily be found for between $30 and $40 on Amazon. Companies like One Drop can provide huge savings through their membership programs. On the website OneDrop.today, you can sign up for a variety of subscription packages, from 100 test strips every three months for $39.95 total to unlimited test strips every three months for $149.95 total. A One Drop membership also includes access to its mobile app, with the option to order various test supplies, track blood glucose and find personal coaching and education. Stores like Costco can also provide great deals, as buying strips in bulk can save you money in the long term. Additionally, stores like Walgreens, CVS, Target and Walmart all sell their own brands of diabetes test strips, which often are a lot cheaper than the brand-name products. (These companies also have loyalty cards that earn points with each purchase, which you can eventually use toward future purchases.)
Glucose meters can be quite expensive, especially those produced by specialty companies and brand names, but there are a number of options to reduce the cost of purchasing a glucose meter. Online promotions through companies such as Accu-Chek (accu-chek.com), OneTouch (onetouch.com) and FreeStyle (freestyleusa.com) offer free glucose meters. All three sites provide options to subscribe and purchase test strips to receive a free meter. Amazon also provides many options, with detailed reviews of inexpensive monitors. For in-store options, Walmart’s ReliOn brand offers various glucose monitoring systems for affordable prices.
Other supplies and snacks
Supplies like syringes, lancets, sharps containers, blood sugar logbooks and even healthy snacks can really add up each time you find yourself running low on these essentials. To combat high costs, you can use companies like RetailMeNot.com that provide coupons for sites such as TotalDiabetesSupply.com and ADWDiabetes.com and products like Glucerna. Diabetic snacks can also be purchased online. A great option is to visit sites like Amazon or DiabeticPromotions.com, where companies will often sell snacks in bulk for cheaper rates than at grocery or specialty stores. Additionally, there are many websites like JustFreebies.com where you can sign up for coupons, free samples and giveaways of diabetic-friendly snacks and other supplies. Also try buying in bulk (keeping an eye on expiration dates) to save over the long-term at stores like Costco.
Last but certainly not least, consider spending more time in the kitchen each week cooking your meals and preparing your snacks from scratch. Doing so will save you money, provide added nourishment and help you avoid unwanted ingredients and processed foods. Check out our latest and greatest recipes at DiabetesSelfManagement.com/Recipes
Want to learn more about saving on your diabetes care? Read “Save Money on Medicines,” “How Your Healthcare Team Can Help You Save on Medications” and “Do’s and Don’t’s for Saving Money With Diabetes.”