Summary: This excerpt from the book Kids First, Diabetes Second gives several tips on saving money on medical supplies and prescriptions for people with type one diabetes.
You have a long list of supplies that you need to stock in that cabinet and in your preparedness kit, but how do you pay for it all? I have a few strategies for savings that can really add up.
Visit the websites of the makers of the diabetes supplies you use to look for coupons and to sign up for e-mail lists to receive notifications. I recently saw a coupon from an insulin maker that allowed patients to fill their prescription for free for six months. Free!
Many of the companies offer savings cards that can be presented to the pharmacist and used on top of your private insurance benefit. For example, the savings program for the test strips we use will pay up to $50 a month on our test strips after I pay $15 out-of-pocket. My co-pay through my insurance company is $65, the savings card pays $50, and all I pay is $15. Some companies offering savings cards also provide free meter batteries and control solution if you call and ask for them. Additionally, many companies have patient assistance programs, which are often based on income level or are granted to patients without private insurance.
Ask your pharmacist and your insurance company for the co-pay amount if a prescription is filled for a 30-day supply versus a 90-day supply. Often a 90-day supply comes with a savings, but not always.
If you have a deductible on your insurance plan and you have met the out-of-pocket maximum for the year, make sure to fill any supplies that fall under this coverage. Often insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor supplies fall under durable medical equipment, not the pharmacy benefit, and can be included in the out-of-pocket expenses. Find out if your insurance plan year ends on December 31st or June 30th, and max out your benefits before the new plan year begins and new deductibles must be met.
If you and your spouse are both employed, ask about covering family members on both policies if possible. Often one policy will pick up where the other leaves off, and savings may exceed any additional premiums.
And finally, take advantage of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) through employers. Employees can designate a dollar amount to come out of each paycheck to go into their accounts. This designated money is not taxed. Typically the money for the entire year is available from day one, which is great if you are making a costly purchase such as an insulin pump. Some FSAs provide a debit card which can be used at pharmacies and will deduct the cost of prescriptions and doctor visits directly from the account. For some items, you are reimbursed after providing documentation. Some over-the-counter items such as glucose tablets can even be purchased with the FSA account, but recent regulations require a prescription for these normally nonprescription items stating that they are medically necessary. Check with your FSA administrator for guidelines. Beware that you need to use or lose the money you put into an FSA; don’t put in more money than you think your family will realistically use during the plan year
If you’d like to learn more about the book, you can read more on the Kids First, Diabetes Second book page. It’s available widely in print and as an eBook from book sellers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and IndieBound. And if you do read it and find it to be a valuable resource, I would greatly appreciate if you could write a review on any of the online retail sites. Thanks!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to booksellers.
Please remember that I never give medical advice. Ask your endocrinologist or pediatrician for advice about your own child. Make your own informed decisions for your own child.