Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Saving Money on Type 2 Diabetes Care

I have personally saved quite a bit on my Diabetic mediation after Anthem dropped my coverage at the beginning of 2013. I signed up with United Health Care through AARP, and my costs are drastically lower - Charles

From medical co-pays to the cost of supplies, type 2 diabetes can be expensive to treat and manage. 

When you add up the costs of diabetic supplies, medications, and insurance co-pays, living with type 2 diabetes can be an expensive proposition for both patients and the health system. 

The latest figures from the National Institutes of Health estimates that diabetes costs the United States $245 billion each year.

One study found that a person newly diagnosed with diabetes spends over 4K more in medical expenses each year than his peers without diabetes. 

Medical costs increase per year after diagnosis. Most of these costs come from diabetes complications such as kidney disease. And these increases in annual medical costs are in addition to those associated with simply aging. 

Also, a recent study found that even among families with employer-sponsored health care plans, those dealing with chronic conditions like diabetes spent more out of pocket, primarily because of prescription co-payments.

Cutting Costs in Diabetes Care

Here are some strategies for reducing diabetes care expenses:

  • Understand disease management goals. Use the valuable time you have with your doctor to make sure you know what your goals are. 
  • Go generic. If you need medications, ask about using generics. Most diabetes medications are available in generic form. 
  • Schedule testing. Regularly checking your blood sugar helps keep it under better control, but testing strips can add considerable costs to your diabetes care. The frequency of monitoring, he says, depends on whether the patient is using oral medications or insulin, and whether the patient has poor control over blood sugar levels.
  • Ask about discount programs. Ask your pharmacist or the manufacturer of the diabetic supplies and medications you use if a discount program exists, and find out if you're eligible. 

Long-term vs. Short-term Costs

Managing your diabetes today may seem to be stretching your budget to the breaking point. There are some hard choices to make, acknowledge experts. 

Achieving consistent control of your blood sugar may lead to greater costs in the short-term: Frequent testing can keep blood sugar under control, but it requires buying more testing strips. But if you don’t manage your blood sugar levels now, your health becomes harder to control as time goes by.

Living with diabetes means you have some difficult choices to make — but you can find a way to be healthy, keep your blood sugar under control, and stay on top of your budget.

Full article by By Madeline Vann, MPH available at Every Day Health

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