The High Cost of Diabetes-Yes, It Is Personal



j04226401.jpgToday’s post is in response to an email from a Battling Diabetes reader who asks how to get low cost diabetes medications, supplies and care if you do not qualify for Medicare.

I’ll do my research but I would appreciate feedback from the experts. YOU! Please post your insights and links so we can all help each other.

If you qualify for Medicare due to your age or disability here are some sites that will answer questions you may have:

WebMD: Medicare Health Center

Medicare Learning Network:An Overview of Medicare Covered Diabetic Supplies and Services (pdf format)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: The Official U.S. Government Site For People with Medicare

If you do not yet qualify for Medicare:

Things to ask and consider when your health care provider gives you a prescription:

  • Ask about cheaper alternatives
  • Ask about generics ($4 generics available at K-Mart, Target, Kroger, Walmart and Giant Eagle)
  • Comparison shop
  • Evaluate mail order pharmacy options available with your health insurance carrier which save you co-pays for a 90 days supply

A word of caution about internet pharmacies. Purchasing medications from other countries is illegal and may not provide the safety and efficacy of U.S. FDA regulated drugs.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy lists recommended and approved internet pharmacies on their site:

The list includes:

* www.caremark.com

* www.drugsourceinc.com

* www.drugstore.com

* www.Familymeds.com

* www.cvs.com

* www.libertymedical.com

* www.medco.com

* www.rxsolutions.com

* www.primetherapeutics.com

* www.rxdirect.com

* www.savon.com

* www.teldrug.com

* www.walgreens.com

* www.welldynerx.com

* www.wellpointnextrx.com

Pill Splitting

Often when a medication is purchased in double doses and split the cost is significantly cheaper. Ask your pharmacist about this and whether he can split for you or if he has any recommendations.

WebMD: Pill Splitting. When Is It Safe? When Is It Unsafe?

Check to See If Your Pharmacy Offers Any Incentive Programs:

Walgreen’s Prescription Savings Club. “The Prescription Savings Club is a discounted prescription buying program for individuals who have no prescription drug coverage or insufficient drug coverage. Members are entitled to discounts on cash prices for select medications included in the Savings Club Formulary. Members shall pay a yearly fee of $20 for individuals and $35 for families. Family price includes spouse and dependents under the age of 21. Cards for other adult family members, such as parents or grandparents, will cost an additional $20 per person. Persons receiving prescription benefits from a publicly funded healthcare program are ineligible for the Prescription Savings Club program. By enrolling in the Club you are affirming that you are not a recipient of benefits from a publicly funded program. The Prescription Savings Club is not insurance or an insurance benefit, nor is it intended as a substitute for insurance. ”

Negotiate Your Bill:

From an article in Prevention Magazine, featured on WebMD comes ten suggestions for lowering your health care costs including this insider tip:

“For patients with insurance, the hospital co-pay or deductible can represent a very large amount of money. Some insurance companies will deduct this amount from the hospital’s contracted rate. The unpaid portion is then your responsibility. Here’s a fact many hospitals won’t openly admit: They’re often willing to waive or reduce an account balance if a patient can demonstrate that the co-pay or deductible is a hardship. But you have to ask. “The patient can go back to an account administrator and say, ‘This is really difficult for me. Is there anything you can do?’ And we can,” says Ruth Levin, vice president for managed care at Continuum Health Partners in New York City. “The number of payers, including patients and insurance plans, who pay hospitals 100% of our charges is probably less than 2%.”

Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs:

Together Rx Access:”The Together Rx Access™ Card was created as a public service by a group of some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, in order to provide savings on prescriptions to eligible residents of the US and Puerto Rico who have no prescription drug coverage. ”

NeedyMed provides information on PAP (patient assistance programs), drug discount cards, disease based assistance and state programs.

Partnership For Prescription Assistance. “The Partnership for Prescription Assistance brings together America’s pharmaceutical companies, doctors, other health care providers, patient advocacy organizations and community groups to help qualifying patients who lack prescription coverage get the medicines they need through the public or private program that’s right for them. Many will get them free or nearly free .”

Rx Hope. “The original online patient assistance portal. RxHope began as a cooperative effort of Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)-member companies to extend a caring hand to patients in need. You can apply here for Patient Assistance Programs offered by hundreds of manufacturers, as well as find information on programs offered by State and Federal government and by pharmaceutical companies.”

I’ve given you my research, and now I look forward to hearing suggestions from Battling Diabetes readers on this topic.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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