13 Responses

  1. maggie
    maggie December 17, 2011 at 6:24 am | | Reply

    Good job advising Steve to visit a FQCHC, Will. But you missed one important option: a free clinic. Free clinics see patients with no insurance and incomes under 200% of Federal Poverty Level (typically; this varies by clinic). Doctor visits and medications are typically free. (Free clinics also use PAPs as well as medications donated by pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, and private physicians.) Most free clinics have specialty physicians who either come to the clinic or provide pro bono visits in their offices.

    For more information and to find a free clinic near you, visit You can also contact your city or county’s health department.

  2. Leighann of D-Mom Blog
    Leighann of D-Mom Blog December 17, 2011 at 6:29 am | | Reply

    We use the Abbott FreeStyle test strips and with their Promise program card they will pay up to $50 a month toward your strips refill. For us, it takes our $65 copay down to $15. You just present the card to the pharmacy when you pick up your prescription and it can be used on top of your insurance coverage.

  3. Roselady
    Roselady December 17, 2011 at 6:48 am | | Reply

    So glad you wrote this column for people that may be in a major crunch. It can certainly be expensive to manage diabetes, and it’s frustrating not to be able to afford the help you need. I just want to chime in with Leighann that Accuchek also offers a discount program for reduced-priced strips — , — and I’m sure that other companies are doing likewise. We use Abbott’s discount program. And we’ve saved so much money!

  4. cw
    cw December 17, 2011 at 7:59 am | | Reply

    Regarding the prescription Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) that I was told I HAD to FILL at the pharmacy in order to get my level up from less than 7 – my insurance said they don’t cover it. I was told by the NP @ my endo that over-the-counter would “never” bring my level up to where it should be. Did some homework and read about Vitamin D3 and how it’s different than the scripted D2. I purchased a bottle of 120 Vitamin D3 Natural Factors (Brand) Softgels (5,000 IU) for $7.99. Within a month, my endo tested my level and it had gone up to 45. Another month, still 45. He said he “learned something” from me. Now he wants me to lower it to 2,000 IU and retest. So as Wil said, the over-the-counter (I got mine at is so much less expensive. And for me, it worked just fine.

  5. dargirl
    dargirl December 18, 2011 at 6:30 am | | Reply

    I have insurance, but I live in fear of not having insurance. You have provide some great advice to how calm these fears.

  6. Seth Bernstein
    Seth Bernstein December 18, 2011 at 10:56 am | | Reply

    To Janet from CA:

    Sanofi (the maker of Apidra) had a shortage of solostar apidra pens. Because of this, they are now paying 100% of your apidra co-pay until March 30, 2011. This applies to vials only.

  7. Laurie Thomas
    Laurie Thomas December 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm | | Reply

    Whether you have insurance or not, get involved in the movement to expand and improve Medicare to cover everything for everyone. It’s shocking that the people of the United States don’t have guaranteed access to healthcare!

  8. Seth Bernstein
    Seth Bernstein December 19, 2011 at 6:17 am | | Reply

    ooops…. I meant 2012. Sanofi the makers of Apidra will pay 100% of your ins. co-pay for Apidra in the vials until March 31, 2012. This is great since I use Apidra in my pump.

  9. Seth B.
    Seth B. December 19, 2011 at 9:46 am | | Reply

    The toll free phone # for zero co-pay with Apidra is: (866) 747-1368.

  10. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell December 19, 2011 at 1:16 pm | | Reply

    Wil, this is excellent advice about reducing costs to help make ends meet. Readers may also find they can order test strips online for a lot less than you can get them at the counter.

    One online store I checked had 50 count of Freestyle strips around $29, and if you can afford it, a 600-strip order of two types of Wavesense strips for around $180. That’s 30 cents a test strip.

  11. Shane Reaume
    Shane Reaume December 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm | | Reply

    There are also a lot of suppliers of blood glucose meters that offer discounts if not free glucose meters with the idea that you are going to buy test strips from them. Typically these are the larger companies that have test strips already at a good price and simply want your business. Depending on the meter you are looking for I believe these companies offer their meters for free under these conditions.

    Bayer glucose meters @
    Accu-Chek Aviva @
    FreeStyle Lite @
    and all meters @

    There is a lot of options to saving money and help for diabetics and I learned a few more ways from this article, thanks for the post.
    Shane Reaume

  12. Lucia Maya
    Lucia Maya December 23, 2011 at 9:30 am | | Reply

    I echo what others have said – great advice! I have insurance, but with a $3000 deductible, so i pay everything out of pocket! I use the Relion meter and strip from Wal-Mart, and do find it quite reliable and 100 strips for $39 is doable. I test frequently, and don’t want to be limiting myself calculating costs. I also take very little insulin (even after 35 years of being type 1), largely because I eat few carbs, so that’s one way to save on insulin, that also benefits our blood sugar control. I personally think the cholesterol medications are hugely over-prescribed, and that we will see a big change in that over the next decade, if we have a different system of health care, which doesn’t involve big pharma and insurance companies profiting from the health care “industry”!

  13. Yolanda
    Yolanda January 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm | | Reply

    I am also a Type 1 diabetic and with out insurance so I haven’t seen a doctor in over 5 years. One year ago I decided to take control of my diabetes because I knew I was super sick. The last time I saw a Doctor my A1c was at 13. It took me a few more years of feeling sick that I changed my life. I went on The Diabetes Solution Diet by DR. Richard Bernstein who is way, way better than Atkins. This guy is also a type 1.
    Since I have no insurance I don’t have a DR. to give me prescriptions so have been buying them on line. EXPENSIVE. Test strips from Walmart. I really want to see a DR. and will try the sliding scale approach. I am the sole support of my family so I am hoping that the clinic will be affordable. Does anyone know the average cost of a visit?

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