Feature Archive

Saving on the Cost of Diabetes Care

Some of the best cost-cutting strategies are free.

By Martin Downs
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario

Carol Phillips has a problem -- a big one, but a common one. She is grappling with the cost of diabetes . At the end of May, her COBRA benefits from a former employer will run out, and she will join the ranks of more than 43 million Americans without health insurance. Because she was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it will be hard for her to afford a new policy.

"I have called a couple of places and inquired," she tells WebMD. "Either I am non-insurable, or the premiums that are quoted are ridiculous."

Phillips is too young for Medicare, and as a self-employed consultant in the travel industry, she makes too much annually to qualify for Medicaid. Nevertheless, her out-of-pocket diabetes costs will take a bite out of her income. "It's going to be very scary," she says.

Since her diagnosis in January, she says she has been able to get her blood sugar under control with the diabetes drug Avandamet and major lifestyle modification. "I'm a changed individual in terms of what I do and what I consume," she says. She exercises daily and has already lost 25 pounds.

She says she hopes to reduce her costs by getting off diabetes medication altogether, and managing her blood sugar by diet and exercise alone. For people who are diagnosed early in the course of the disease, that is sometimes possible.