Government Programs that Help with Diabetes Supplies

Diabetes supplies can cost hundreds of dollars per month.

Diabetic medication usually costs less for most patients than their diabetic supplies cost each month. Test strips are a necessity for most diabetics who need to regularly test their blood sugar levels. Some people need to check this level three or more times each day. When test strips can cost $1.00 or more per strip, this can add up to close to $100 per month. Other diabetic supplies and medications can cost hundreds of dollars each month.

Government Assistance Through Medicare or Medicaid

Medicare is a government medical insurance program for adults who are 65 years or older, or for certain others who qualify for this program. Medicare Part B does cover some diabetes supplies, such as blood sugar test strips, monitors, insulin, lancet devices and lancets, glucose control solutions, and therapeutic shoes or inserts.

Government assistance for those under the age of 65 who qualify for Medicaid is also available. To qualify for Medicaid, patients must have very low incomes. There is also a government program that allows diabetics to purchase health insurance if they are not eligible for either Medicare or Medicaid. Programs for the homeless who suffer from type 2 diabetes often supply free medical supplies and medications for those who visit their shelters. Hospitals and clinics also provide free diabetes supplies to patients and to those who qualify in some areas of the country.

Other Kinds of Government Assistance for Diabetics

A person with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes who is unable to work because of their illness may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If someone is disabled because of complications from diabetes, they may suffer from kidney disease or have had a foot or leg amputated. Others may be blind due to uncontrolled diabetes. The U.S. government has a "Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool" at www.benefits.gov/ssa where it is possible to see if you qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Other Sources of Free or Low-Cost Diabetes Supplies

There are some other ways to access free or low cost diabetes supplies, such as test strips, monitors, and medications that are required to treat diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. Hospitals and health care providers are able to provide free samples that they receive from pharmaceutical companies or from diabetes supply manufacturers. Also, drug companies that sell insulin or diabetes medicines sometimes offer patient assistance programs. Before you qualify for this assistance, you need to get a referral from your doctor. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and its member companies sponsor an interactive website with information about drug assistance programs at www.PPARx.org.

Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

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