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Keeping the cost of diabetes in check

A view of someone's lap from above with a checkbook, calculator and notebook.

Sept. 14, 2021—When you first hear that you have diabetes, you may worry about the cost of managing your condition. After all, to stay healthy, you may need medicines, supplies and frequent checkups. Luckily, many health plans cover some or all of the costs of diabetes care. And there are other resources that can help you stay healthy, even if you're on a budget.

Get to know your benefits

A good first step after your diagnosis is to find out what is covered by your health plan. While every plan is different, many provide coverage for basic diabetes care, including:

  • Training on how to manage diabetes.
  • Diabetes medications.
  • Supplies like glucose monitors and insulin.
  • Checkups to monitor your blood sugar, kidneys, eye health and more.

If you're choosing between several health plans, be sure to compare them carefully. And remember that no plan can charge you more or refuse to provide coverage because you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes.

Other ways to save

If you're looking for other ways to lower your share of the costs, consider these tips:

  • Choose generic medications when possible. They're usually cheaper.
  • Ask providers if they offer financial assistance or free samples of supplies.
  • Look for programs in your community that might provide financial support.
  • Check out drug discount programs through websites like the Medicine Assistance Tool or NeedyMeds.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases lists many other resources that can help. These include government programs run by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, among others.

Cutting costs without cutting care

While managing your budget is important, it should never be at the expense of your health. There are some aspects of your care you should never cut back on:

  • Never reduce your recommended dose of insulin. This can be very dangerous.
  • Make sure you take all of the medications that you need, when you need them.
  • Never share insulin pens or other devices that puncture your skin. This can lead to infection.

When you manage your diabetes well, you'll feel better—and that can mean lower costs in the long run.

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