Controlling the “ABCs of diabetes,” namely A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, is difficult enough, but when you add that second C – costly medications – it’s easy to see how one’s levels can spiral out of control very quickly.
According to the American Diabetes Association, for the 30 million people living with diabetes in the U.S., health care costs are more than double (2.3 times) the costs compared to those without diabetes. This is due to the ever-increasing costs of the medications to treat diabetes and the chronic conditions that often accompany the disease, namely high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In fact, between 2002 and 2013, the cost of insulin has tripled, and newer cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering medications are also on the rise.
Now consider that in the U.S., more than 2 million children and adults living with diabetes do not have access to health insurance, and millions more are in high-deductible plans that can require high out-of-pocket costs. This has a compounding effect on our healthcare system and society because the lack of access to diabetes medications can lead to avoidable doctor visits, hospitalizations, amputations and even death.
So, what is the cash-paying person struggling to afford these high-cost insulins and other diabetes medications to do? The good news is there are numerous ways to save money on diabetes care without compromising on quality.
First, shop around. Medication prices can vary greatly by pharmacy. If you are not using insurance to cover the cost of prescription drugs, there are many ways to obtain prescription assistance. See if you could begin saving money immediately with Inside Rx, a free discount drug card program, which provides deep discounts on certain brand-name diabetes medications, including insulin and drugs that treat co-existing conditions such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, people who have used the Inside Rx card have saved an average $180 on featured brand insulin medications. See insiderx.com for a listing of these featured medications, as well as important terms and restrictions.
In addition, Rx Assistance provides a comprehensive database of pharmaceutical assistance programs. Most pharmaceutical companies also offer financial assistance programs to persons who have trouble affording their medications and supplies.
By doing some research into these types of discount programs and databases, it may be possible to save thousands of dollars a year, while controlling your diabetes and enhancing your quality of life.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, however, diabetes is a chronic condition requiring year-round awareness and education.