Diabetes isn’t easy–on you or your wallet. Between glucose meters, test strips, and prescription medications, health care costs can add up quickly. Try some of these 7 steps to help you feel better about your diabetes and your bank account. Step 1: Talk it out People with type 1 diabetes often require different supplies than patients with type 2. Talk to your doctor to find out exactly what you need for your personal diabetes care plan. Some testing supplies may be covered by health insurance. Working with your provider can help you figure out which brands are the most cost-effective for you. Finally, reach out to others in the diabetes community. Blogs, local events, and support groups are full of resources that can give you firsthand money-saving tips and product reviews. Step 2: Look out for samples Attending a diabetes convention or EXPO can give you great access to free lancets, needle tips, and more. You can also use this opportunity to comparison-shop between brands. Check out the American Diabetes Association for upcoming events near you. Step 3: Go generic It’s no secret brand-name medications are more expensive. Your health care provider may know if there are generic options you can opt to use instead. Once you change to a generic brand, it’s important to double-check the equipment is working properly. If you notice any serious changes in your blood glucose measurements after switching, talk to your doctor immediately. There may be a problem with your meter or other testing supplies. Step 4: Scope out eBay Some diabetes supplies has to be purchased new, but eBay can offer great deals on items such as medical bracelets, handy carrying cases, and glucose logbooks. eBay even has a helpful guide with tips on how to safely purchase diabetes equipment from the site. Step 5: Be aware of tax deductions Did you know that you may be eligible for a refund, if you’re paying out of pocket for health care supplies? According to the IRS, some deductible items include:
  • Medication
  • Dental treatment
  • Surgeries
  • Weight loss programs
For more information, visit the IRS website or talk to your tax professional. Step 6: Find cost-saving programs Patient assistance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, can help cover the costs of diabetes supplies for people who are eligible. Several states and communities also offer low- or no-cost diabetes coverage based on need. For more information, visit findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov. Finally, diabetes management programs, such as My Diabetes Home, offer coupons and information on generic medications that can help save you money at the pharmacy. Step 7: Avoid unnecessary expenses A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive. Avoid gimmicky “diabetes-approved” diet plans and costly “emergency snack kits.” You can find all the foods you need to live well at the grocery store. Local farmers markets are also great places you can go to score deals on a wide variety of produce, home-baked breads, and farm-fresh milk, eggs, and cheeses. When it comes to exercise, there are plenty of ways to get in a workout without a pricey gym membership. Bodyweight exercises are great for building strength, while a jog or brisk walk around your neighborhood can boost heart health. Photo courtesy of 401(K) 2012 on Flickr