Financial Impact

4 Easy Ways to Help Manage Diabetes Care Costs

Nearly two out of five Americans report that they—or a family member—have delayed medical treatment because of concerns over cost, according to a recent Gallup survey. 

The survey, which asks whether someone has postponed or skipped medical care in the last 12 months because of cost, has been fielded since 2001, and the latest self-reports are the highest and most alarming to date. The results come at a time when many Americans say it’s harder to afford medical care even when they have health insurance. And the current state of the economy and sky rocketing prices for basic necessities isn’t helping matters. 

The Cost of Delaying Medical Treatment

Especially concerning was that one in four respondents said the medical treatment they delayed was for a very or somewhat serious medical condition, such as diabetes. The problem is that when diabetes isn’t managed, it can affect other parts of the body and lead to heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and more. Without ongoing treatment for diabetes and other serious conditions, patients face worse health outcomes, quality of life, and larger medical bills down the road. 

The data offer an important reminder to speak up if you are worried about the costs related to managing your diabetes so it doesn’t become a barrier to taking care of your health. Talk with your diabetes care team if you have difficulty paying for your medications or health care. There are resources your care team can connect you with to help lower what you have to pay. In addition, they may be able to prescribe less expensive medications.

Resources to Help with Medication Costs and Other Critical Needs

Here are a few ways to try to lower medication costs:

1. Ask about switching to a generic option.

There may be a lower cost option of your prescribed medication that works just as well. The medications your insurance covers will depend on what is included on the formulary—a list of medications that are covered. Ask your health care team if you can switch to a lower cost medication covered by your insurance.

2. Look into pharmaceutical company co-pay coupons.

Co-pay savings programs or coupons, which are available through pharmaceutical websites, can help offset the price of medications to help you save on out-of-pocket costs. The manufacturer helps pay part or all of the cost that you’re responsible for through your copay or coinsurance. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if there are any copay cards that might help.

3. Find out about patient assistance programs.

Many pharmaceutical companies, state programs, and nonprofits offer drug assistance programs. These programs offer free or low-cost medicines if you don’t have insurance or are underinsured and can’t afford your medicine. Each has specific eligibility requirements. Ask your local pharmacy or health care team or search online to see what programs you may qualify for. 

4. Check out some of the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA’s) resources:

  • For help for paying for insulin 
    If you are struggling to pay for insulin and diabetes medication, the ADA can help you find resources. can connect you with resources to get help from the maker of your insulin. There are four insulin manufacturers who offer immediate assistance and long-term resources.
  • For help finding local resources 
    For diabetes resources in your area—medical care, advocacy, mental health care, nutrition education, transportation, and more—visit the ADA’s Community Connection.
  • For health insurance aid 
    The process of getting health insurance can be confusing and overwhelming. The ADA has put together a webpage to help you navigate your options with diabetes and health insurance

The ADA is also at the forefront in advocating for improving access to affordable care, medication, and technologies for people with diabetes. Get involved and lend your voice to ensure that cost is not a barrier to living a better life with diabetes. 

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