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. RxAssist - provides information about drug company programs, state programs, discount drug cards, copay help and more.

Rx Outreach - a nonprofit pharmacy that provides affordable medications to people in need. 

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance - helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get medicines for free or nearly free.

RxHope - a web-based resource that helps people get medications for free or for a small co-payment.

The National Council on Aging - provides benefit information for seniors with limited income and resources.

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

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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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