Money-Saving Tips for Diabetics


Susan Fishman

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If you have diabetes, you know just how quickly the costs of your condition can add up. Between medication, equipment and supplies, the bills to manage your diabetes can take a big bite out of your monthly budget. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the average cost of health care for a person with diabetes is more than twice the cost of health care for a person without diabetes.

But there are many ways to help cut those costs. Here are a few tricks of the trade and resources to help you save money on your diabetes medications and supplies:


  • Ask for samples. Your doctor or diabetes educator can pass out medicine samples they receive from drug companies.

  • Purchase online. Online pharmacies often sell prescription medications at a reduced cost.

  • Contact the drug companies. Ask about financial assistance programs for people who have trouble affording their medications and supplies.

  • Go generic. Ask your doctor if less-expensive, generic options can be substituted for brand-name prescriptions.

  • Split double dosage pills in half. Different strength prescription pills cost the same. Many can be safely split, giving you an immediate 50% savings. For example, if you need 20 mg, buy 40 mg tablets and split them. Always check with the pharmacist or doctor beforehand.

  • Buy in bulk. Find out if buying multiple prescriptions at once will reduce costs.

  • Avoid waste. If possible, use your medications before their expiration date.

*Do NOT avoid filling prescriptions or take less medication than what a doctor prescribes in order to save money.

Medical Supplies

  • Ask for help. Your doctor or diabetes educator may be able to provide free samples of testing supplies or refer you to local patient assistance programs.

  • Enroll in a chronic disease management program. Many insurance plans and employer benefit plans offer great savings if you enroll in their disease management program.

  • Use coupons. Drugstore circulars or pharmacy counter magazines may offer deals, such as a free meter with the purchase of 100 test strips.  

  • Call the diabetes supply company. Ask about getting product samples to try out.

  • Contact your local public health department. They often provide financial help for expenses related to diabetes.

  • Shop on eBay and other trusted online vendors. You can find great deals on medical alert bracelets and other supplies.

  • Visit diabetes expos. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) holds expos where you may be able to pick up free samples of medicines and supplies. For a list of upcoming expos in your city, visit the ADA Website.

Also, be sure you understand all of your health insurance options. For example,  Medicare Part B helps pay for diabetes supplies, such as glucose monitors, test strips and lancets, whereas  Medicare Part D helps with medications and insulin expenses. You can find more info at

Some additional resources:

NeedyMeds - a nonprofit group that helps people find programs that help pay for medications.

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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Mar 21, 2017

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View Sources

Medical References

  1. Financial Help for Diabetes Care. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  2. Prescription Assistance. American Diabetes Association.
  3. 15 Money-Saving Tips. Diabetes Forecast, American Diabetes Association.

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