Many PWDs are fortunate enough to have some form of health insurance. For those that don’t, care can be a challenge. Where do you turn to get the supplies to live? This community collectively has an enormous wealth of knowledge that someone, somewhere needs, so please add any relevant information possible.
The following is not an exhaustive list of resources, but merely a starting place for those in need who
- Don’t have a healthcare plan, or their Healthplan has poor coverage
- Can’t afford the co-pay for office visits or prescriptions or both
- Are in between insurances and are trying to get by until the new insurance starts
Healthcare resources can be found at the local/state/federal level and vary in cost from free to negligible based on income.
- On the Federal level, a list of local free/low cost clinics can be found here https://www.healthcare.gov/community-health-centers/
- Visit your local Diabetes society, as they frequently have free healthcare workshops for PWDs that have severe financial issues
- If you belong to a religious group, seek aid from your local religious leader, as many of them have contacts in the community to help their followers in time of need
- Speak with your current Dr and try to negotiate a cash price. Most Drs are willing to donate services Pro Bono to provide continuity of care short term. Many Drs are also willing to do email consultations for those in between insurances.
Medication including Insulin
- If you have a Dr currently, explain your financial situation and either ask for generic medications (if possible) or for any available samples of non-generics. Most D-Drs have a supply from the various drug manufacturers for this purpose in my experience.
- Negotiate a cash price for your Rx with your local non-chain pharmacist. Many generics actually cost less than $10/monthly for a cash purchase.
- Have your Rx filled at a low/no cost clinic when seeing the Dr. The cost will be sliding scale based.
- If on Insulin, consider switching to R (Regular) and/or NPH until you are able to afford Analog insulins such as Humalog, Novolog, Lantus, or similar again. Both R (Regular) and NPH are available at Walmart for $24.95/10ml vial with no Rx needed in the US except for in Alaska, though I have recently heard that Alaskan Walmarts might actually be selling R & NPH w/o an Rx. If you do switch to R or NPH make sure you research their durations/spikes/ and how they stack before using. They are not forgiving like many newer insulins. Pumpers will need to adjust most if not all of their pump settings. Be advised to no current US pump manufacturer recommends R with their pumps.
- Everyone has their favorite. When cash strapped I look for the nexus of Price and Affordability. In no specific order, Walmart Prime ($19/Meter, 9/100 strips aka .09/strip everyday), Contour Next (~$8/Meter on Amazon, avg ~26/100 strips aka .26/strip, can be as low as $.23/strip in bulk) OneDrop ($99/meter, $34/unlimited strips), MySugar ($40/month includes meter and unlimited strips)
- Strips with a short shelf life, designed for use in another country, or are being resold can be found on EBay. There are some deals to be had, but buyer beware.
Financial Assistance Plans
- Check the manufacturers website for Co-Pay cards or financial assistance plans. Almost every manufacturer of D-medications or supplies has this. I use co-pay cards on almost every medication I use to help offset my Insurance costs.
- U100 Syringes Amazon ($13/100 syringes, some with free shipping) or Walmart ($13/100 syringes but may have local restrictions on quantity or need an Rx). I have not had good luck in the past with EBay in this category
There are several sources on the internet for Insulin RX and Syringe Rx requirements by state. Islets of Hope and ChildrenWithDiabetes has always been very accurate IMHO. It is listed here for your reference only. Insulin RX by State
Every PWD knows that food and exercise affect our BGs. The cheapest food in the store is generally the worst for us. Food banks and other charity organizations can help with this. Ask for fewer starches and more veggies, even frozen veggies. The goal is to get by on the least possible insulin until either Health insurance starts or you have a financial reversal. Ask for help. Sometimes it painful and embarrassing but do what you must. You have to do whatever it takes to survive, and you definitely can do it.
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