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From Maine, USA:

I would like to hear some of the things that some people with type 1 diabetes do to help keep it under control and if there's a cheaper way to buy things when insurance doesn't cover.

Some suggestions:

  1. Buy more expensive insurance, if available, that will cover supplies. While it may seem more expensive initially, it may cover more services and more specialists when you need them. You'll have to add up all the costs to be sure you've got the best deal.
  2. Negotiate with your insurance company to cover supplies. Send letters from your doctor, and send copies to your employer (if your job is paying for your health insurance), and to the state Insurance Commissioner.
  3. Check with your Diabetes Team about free samples. Insulin and pills may be available, either from the shelves at their office, or from the manufacturers (for indigent patients). It's very hard to find free strips, however.
  4. Buy non-perishable supplies in bulk. (Be sure to check the expiration dates, and make sure it's a long way off in the future!)
  5. Call the 800 numbers in the Forecast or Countdown magazines for mail-order firms, and check their prices; be sure to count shipping, handling, and taxes when comparing prices. Also, see Mail Order Pharmacies for a listing of mail-order companies.
  6. Ask your Diabetes Team where the best deals are in your local area: Frequently, patients mention good deals they have found, and the Diabetes Team will usually pass along these tips.
  7. Check out the available Pharmaceutical Reimbursement Assistance Programs, which can help provide free insulin and diabetes medications to those who cannot afford them.

Original posting 18 Feb 96


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