Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Managing diabetes can be very costly, especially with the constant need for testing supplies and medication. But did you know there are resources that can help you access free diabetic supplies? In this blog post, we will explore various governmental, non-profit, and private options to help you find the supplies you need without breaking the bank.
Which Governmental Programs Provide Free or Discounted Supplies?
If you are enrolled in the Medicaid program, you may be eligible for free or discounted diabetes care services, including supplies. Each state may offer its own level of coverage.
Contact your local Medicaid office to find out more about eligibility requirements and coverage levels or visit the official Medicaid website for more information.
For individuals on Medicaid, you may also qualify for the Lifeline and or Affordable Connectivity Program for free cell phone and data service. You can use those savings to help offset some of your diabetes supply costs. Learn more at EASY Wireless.
Save Money with Prescription Assistance Discount Cards
Sometimes your insurance may not be the cheapest way to purchase diabetic supplies. You have entered the "donut hole" for Medicare or your medication is only available in an expensive name-brand version not covered.
In this case, you can use a prescription assistance discount card to save money on your prescriptions. You may be able to get big discounts on the retail price of your medications and supplies. Signing up for these drug discount programs is easy. You can do it online in a matter of minutes.
The pharmacy will also often have a card at their front desk to scan in case you forget yours.
Before you pay for your prescription, ask them if they can compare which method (insurance or discount card) will be cheaper.
Some of the most common pharmaceutical discount programs include:
Check out VeryWell Health for a breakdown of the Pros and Cons of each of these programs.
American Diabetes Association (ADA)
The ADA is a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to fighting diabetes. They offer various resources and programs, including some that can help you find free diabetic supplies.
Its insulin help page can put you in contact directly with manufacturers to receive reduced-cost insulin, resources on financial assistance such as the Patient Advocate Foundation, and information on managing diabetes.
Medicine Assistance Tool
The Medicine Assistance Tool is a search engine to help find free diabetes supplies for low-income individuals. For those that have signed up for Medicare plans in the past, the process is very similar.
Enter your prescription, insurance number (if you have it), general financial information. The site then finds programs and drug manufacturers that can provide financial assistance to you.
Reach Out to Pharmaceutical Companies
Some pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs for those who cannot afford their medications or supplies. Look for the manufacturer of your diabetes supplies on their website and search for patient assistance programs. You may be required to submit an application to qualify.
Check your insulin pen or vial for the logo of your supplier.
The most common suppliers include:
- Novo Nordisk
Local Pharmacies and Clinics
Some local pharmacies and clinics may offer discounted or even free diabetic supplies as part of their community outreach programs. Reach out to the pharmacies and diabetic clinics in your area to see if they offer any assistance.
Find Diabetes Supplies Through Your Health Insurance
There are several types of insurance that can help you obtain diabetes care at little or no cost. Medical care is available to seniors and disabled individuals that qualify for Medicare.
Medicare Part B
For those people with Medicare B, it will cover diabetes screenings and durable medical equipment supplies such as blood glucose monitors. You will also find Medicare Part B covers glucose test strips, lancets, and elastic compression stockings.
Medicare Part B also provides screening and training to manage diabetes or prevent it in certain individuals. However, you will be responsible for co-payments and co-insurance for these supplies.
Prescription Drug Coverage with Medicare Part D
You can reduce your out-of-pocket expense for diabetic supplies depending if you have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Part D plans cover insulin, syringes, needles and other diabetes supplies.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage Plans can be considered a replacement for Original Medicare. In many cases, these plans cover diabetes services and supplies as Part B can also add in Part D coverage (known as a MA-PD plan), and under one plan you'll have the same supplies covered as you would under a standard Medicare Plan.
However, MA plans may offer additional benefits to help offset more of the medical expenses to treat diabetes. Certain plans offer debit-style cards that provide monthly or quarterly cash funds that can be used to purchase diabetes medications or supplies from your local pharmacy.
For individuals qualifying for C-SNP or D-SNP plans, you may find the co-pays reduced further and the monthly benefits offered even more over a traditional Medicare plan. Check with your Health Insurance Agent to see if you have the best plan available in your area.
Private Commercial Insurance Options
Insurance coverage through your employers of the Healthcare Marketplace will offer certain coverage for diabetes. You need to check your plan's cop-pays and deductibles against free or reduced cost options from the states or pharmaceutical companies to determine what is the best choice.
If you have been recently diagnosed with Diabetes, this may trigger a special enrollment period where you can change your health or Medicare plan to one that offers better coverage for diabetes. Check with your insurance agent to review your current coverage.
Find Advice from Forums and Social Media
Connecting with other people who are also managing diabetes can be helpful in finding free diabetic supplies. Look for online support groups and forums wherein members share information on where they find supplies at reduced or no cost.
Living with diabetes can be challenging, but it shouldn't be unaffordable. With many resources, both governmental and non-profit, as well as private options, you can find ways to access free diabetic supplies. Explore the options mentioned in this blog post and take control of your diabetes management without the financial strain.