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Diabetes patients struggle to pay for supplies, poll finds
November 23rd, 2010
WESTPORT, Conn. – More than 50% of people with diabetes are finding it a struggle to afford diabetic supplies, according to a survey by diabetes community network dLife.
DLife said Tuesday that with the U.S. economy still shaky, people living with diabetes are feeling the brunt of the rising prices of medical supplies and doctor visit co-pays. Of those polled by dLife.com, 49% said they had been able to make ends meet between health insurance and personal income but noted that the stress, especially during certain months of the year, was overwhelming.
More than 30% of respondents reported having to cut back on prescription drugs, supplies and medical care to survive, dLife.com reported, and 16% said they took assistance from community or government programs that subsidize medical care and supplies.
DLife noted that diabetes patients under financial constraints and/or with inadequate health insurance shouldn't be tempted to skimp on buying test strips and testing less frequently in order to economize.
The community network, which has has over 1.2 million registered members, said patients could stretch their health care dollars by shopping around for blood glucose meters (especially looking for manufacturer rebates and discounts); requesting samples from doctors; buying supplies in bulk whenever possible; signing up for diabetes programs at their local pharmacy, since most major chains offer rewards, points or coupons on diabetes products; visiting a health care fair or a diabetes expo; asking their employer if they offer a flexible spending account (FSA) to pay for supplies with pretax dollars; and opting for generic or store-brand test strips and prescription drugs.