S.O.S. (Save On Self-Care)
Part 4 in the series "Budget".
It's a frightening trend. When people cut back on checking their blood sugar, taking insulin or seeing their doctor, you know things are serious.1 But this economy has seen a lot of people lose their jobs, income and health insurance—or stuck in the Medicare donut hole—and for many, the need to cut back is a reality.
What can you do if you find yourself tempted to cut back on your diabetes self-care? The first step is to talk to your doctor. He or she can't help you if they don't know what's going on.
In addition, here are 7 more ideas that may help.
- Don't try to save money by skipping necessary blood sugar checks. You may wind up with a few extra dollars per day in your pocket, but your blood sugar can easily get back on the roller coaster. As a result, you're likely to feel pretty lousy and you may wind up testing more in order to get back on track.2 Add a trip to the emergency room, lost days at work and long-term damage to your health, and you haven't come out ahead. The ACCU-CHEK Connect prescription discount card or Roche Patient Assistance Program may be able to help.
- While you're at it, see if the manufacturers of any of the other drugs you're on offer patient assistance or discount programs.
- Get the maximum value from the blood sugar checks you perform. Your numbers don't mean anything unless you know how to interpret and act on the results. However, if you use your numbers to improve your blood sugar control, you may be able to save money in the long run by avoiding or minimizing the effects of long-term complications.2
- Ask your doctor about ways to save on prescriptions—for diabetes and other medications. Ask about generic options or combination drugs, free samples and whether you can split pills.3 Perhaps there are older, less expensive brands on the market that will work for you.
- Make the most of your employer-sponsored flexible spending account or cafeteria plan. Chances are, you know what you spend each month on diabetes and other health supplies, so it's unlikely that you'll lose your contribution at the end of the year. Talk to your human resources manager for details.
- Seek out free education. Look into education or incentive programs offered by your insurance carrier or pharmacy. Or visit a health fair or expo sponsored by the American Diabetes Association or local hospital to learn about the latest treatments , get freebies and rebates, and walk away feeling motivated.
1American Diabetes Association. Diabetics skimp on lifesaving care in recession. Available at: forecast.diabetes.org/news/diabetics-skimp-lifesaving-care-recession. Accessed January 23, 2012.
2U.S. National Library of Medicine. The economic implications of self-care: the effect of lifestyle, functional adaptations and medical self-care among a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries. American Journal of Public Health. 2000;90(10): 1608-12. Available at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11029996?dopt=Abstract. Accessed January 23, 2012.
3Prevention. 9 ways to cut diabetes costs. Available at: online.prevention.com/diabetesonabudget/index.shtml. Accessed January 23, 2012.