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Managing your diabetes costs

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(ARA) - For the nearly 24 million Americans with diabetes, the cost of medication and other items related to diabetes care can be nearly two and a half times greater than medical costs for those without the disease. With the rising costs of health care, many individuals find it difficult to pay for necessary treatment. In fact, a survey by CVS/pharmacy found that 29 percent of people with diabetes had not filled a prescription due to the expense in the past 12 months.

"This statistic is worrisome, because taking your medications now can help prevent more serious health problems that may be even costlier in the future," says CVS Pharmacist Ericka Shephard. "While the costs of diabetes can seem unmanageable, fortunately, there are ways to save money."

Start with examining prescription drug costs. Although the cost of diabetes medications can add up, you can save money by asking your doctor or pharmacist about less expensive generic alternatives. Generic drugs offer significant cost savings, while providing the same active ingredients as brand-name counterparts. They are safe, effective and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The most common types of oral diabetes drugs all have generic versions, so talk with your pharmacist about switching your medications to their generic forms.

Another cost-effective option is to use "combination drugs" that include two diabetes medications such as metformin and a sulfonylurea. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if this option could work for you. Additionally, ask about community resources or drug assistance programs available in your area. Many drug companies offer medications for free or at a reduced cost for people in need.

In addition to medications, it's possible to cut costs on other diabetes supplies. A variety of store-brand Glucose meters and other diabetes care items are available as cost-saving alternatives to national brands. Purchasing in bulk can also help you save on syringes and test strips. For example, a 100-count box of test strips is usually less expensive than two 50-count boxes.

Managing insulin supply is additionally important to keep in mind for limiting your diabetes costs. All insulin products expire within a short period after being opened, so it's important to know how long your insulin lasts so you don't purchase more than can be used by the expiration date. And for people who only need small doses of insulin, an insulin pen may be even cheaper than using insulin vials.

A new program from CVS/pharmacy - ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes - provides savings for people with diabetes and their caregivers. The health and wellness program can help to keep costs down by offering rewards and discounts on supplies needed to manage this condition. More information on the program and diabetes care can be found at www.cvs.com/diabetes.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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