As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to grow, with many alarming reports in the news, the CDC has recently advised for at-risk populations (including those with diabetes) to prepare and to stay home as much as possible. For someone with a medical condition that often requires constant care and a supply of medicine, preparing for potential quarantine may also mean stocking up on extra medical supplies. Of course, this also means an additional financial expense, placing an additional burden on this patient population.
Here are some basic tips to consider for anyone with diabetes who is preparing get started on obtaining some extra supplies without incurring very high costs:
- Contact your healthcare provider and ask them for samples of the medication(s) that you need.
- Reach out to your health insurance company to determine if they will authorize a payment for an extra supply (sometimes called a “vacation” supply) of the medication(s) you need.
- If needed, discuss with your healthcare provider any alternative medication(s) that may be cheaper than the ones you currently use, in case you decide to pay out-of-pocket for an extra supply. There are insulin preparations that can be purchased over-the-counter at a very reasonable price, but be sure to discuss the ins and outs of using these preparations with your provider, as they have different activity profiles than prescription insulin formulations.
- See if you qualify for insulin savings through the manufacturer. Reach out to the company that makes your specific insulin(s) and/or visit their website(s) to determine which program(s) they offer and what you may be eligible for.
- Consider purchasing the ReliOn brand of blood glucose testing supplies from Walmart, which tend to be much more affordable than if you were to pay out-of-pocket for an extra supply by another brand.
- Look into using a service like DiaThrive or Livongo, which can allow you to obtain unlimited blood glucose testing supplies at a fixed price.
- Consider using a mail-order pharmacy, so that you can minimize leaving your residence to obtain medical supplies.
Also, have a look at this checklist form the Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition to keep you on track as far as being prepared with diabetes essentials during an emergency situation.
Do you have any advice for people with diabetes who are trying to make sure they are prepared with enough medical supplies for an extended amount of time? Please share this article and your thoughts in the comments below.
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