In the United States, there are over 25 million Americans living with diabetes. This amounts to 8.3 percent of the total population. Each year, there is an additional 1.7 million individuals diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes management and treatment is long-term and is expensive for individuals to pay for. In 2012, $176 billion was spent in total for direct medical costs from diabetes patients. The American Diabetes Association found that on average every individual will need to pay out of pocket for diabetes related medical expenses of $13,741 per year. This is 2.3 times higher than the cost that an American without diabetes would normally pay for health care.
8 Complications That Increase Medical Expenses For Diabetics
One of the biggest problems with diabetes is the number of complications that can arise throughout the lifespan of an individual. These consequences as a result of poor management of diabetes or as a result of a dramatic increase of the cost for health care, which patients are unable to pay for. Many people who have diabetes will suffer from a range of impacts including:
1. Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is a common condition for diabetics, where the blood sugar (glucose) is too low. Individuals can confusion, dizziness, headaches, sweating, weakness and anxiety. In more severe cases, there have been over 280,000 emergency room visits due to hypoglycemia in 2011.
2. Hypertension: High blood pressure is a common complication that can occur for diabetes patients. Hypertension is a condition when the blood pressure is above average or normal. This can cause excessive pressure on your artery walls and as a result damage blood vessels and vital organs in the process.
3. Dyslipidemia: Individuals with diabetes can have a high or abnormal amount of cholesterol or fat within their body. This can result in developing cardiovascular disease, which in some cases can be fatal.
4. Heart Attack: Individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to having heart attacks. This is a serious medical emergency where treatment requires surgery or medication at the out of pocket cost of the patient.
5. Stroke: In 2010, it was found that hospitalization rates for stroke were 1.5 times higher among adults with diagnosed diabetes. Stroke can lead to further complications such as impairments, brain damage and mental deterioration. Many patients will require hospitalization, rehabilitation and therapies.
6. Blindness and Eye Problems: Many individuals with diabetes can develop eye problems. Over 4 million individuals with diabetes had diabetic retinopathy, which is the damage on the small blood vessels found in the retina. This can cause blindness and a loss of vision.
7. Kidney Disease: Individuals living with diabetes are most likely also living with kidney disease. Diabetes is the primary cause of kidney failure where 49,677 Americans in 2011 received treatment for kidney failure due to diabetes. 228,924 people also lived on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant due to diabetes.
8. Amputations: 60 percent of patients with non-traumatic lower-limb amputations are due to diabetes complications. This accounts for 73,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations which were performed in 2010.
5 Diabetes Financial Assistance Resources You Might Be Missing Out On
With over 8 percent of the American population living with diabetes, the need to receive financial assistance for diabetes is high. For individuals looking for diabetes financial assistance options, there are 5 useful resources that could be used to help reduce the cost of your health care for diabetes. These resources are easily accessible for anyone in need of financial assistance and can dramatically change your ability to maintain and manage diabetes for the future.
1. Prescription Drug Assistance Programs
For many individuals with diabetes, medication costs can lead families into serious medical debt. As a result, some individuals opt to forgo medication by delaying filling prescriptions or by taking fewer medication than what is advised. This can lead to negative impacts on the body and can put individuals in greater risk of complications as a result.
Over 400 pharmaceutical companies offer assistance programs that are available for patients with specific diseases, disabilities and illnesses. This includes individuals living with diabetes. Individuals can seek financial assistance through these programs by simply applying online.
Generally these assistance programs run by pharmaceutical companies offer patients with a one off assistance through free samples or trials of their drugs. This can be as much as 3 months worth of medication, which can significantly cut the cost of your prescription drugs.
Long-term benefits of being part of these assistance programs include the ability to access lower cost medication for up to two years for some programs.
Each program has their own terms and conditions as well as guidelines on what they offer as benefits for patients. Therefore, it is important to understand the limitations of these programs and consider these assistance programs as more short term solutions if you are dealing with high financial burden. To learn more about your options, Partnership for Prescription Assistance website can assist patients in finding the best assistance programs available for you.
Those who are eligible for medicare can gain assistance to cover the cost of diabetes services, equipment and supplies. It is important to note that coinsurance and/or deductibles can apply. This means, an individual must be enrolled into Medicare Part B or Medicare Part D, where monthly insurance payments will be required.
Diabetes Financial Assistance Within Medicare Part B
Individuals with Medicare part B can receive financial assistance to cover diabetes screening tests. This is opened to individuals who have a high risk of developing diabetes.
Other exams and tests for diabetes patients such as eye exams to check glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy as well as foot exams.
You can also receive diabetes self-management training free of charge. Individuals can gain advice, help and guidance on how to best manage diabetes. Part of this can include medical nutrition therapy services, which is only available for individuals who have been referred by a health care provider. Counseling is also available to assist individuals with weight loss or weight management.
Another benefit of Medicare Part B is the ability to access diabetes supplies. These include therapeutic shoes or inserts, glucose monitors, test strips, lancets and insulin pumps. Insulin is also available.
As part of Medicare, individuals can also receive flu and pneumonia shots and treatment.
Diabetes Financial Assistance Within Medicare Part D
Part D of the Medicare program allows patients with diabetes to be able to access diabetes medications and supplies related to treatment. This includes needles and syringes for the use of injecting insulin.
3. Finding Low Cost Prescription Medications
There are two types of medications that individuals with diabetes use. These are pills and insulin. Some patients require both, while some use one or the other. On average, an individual with diabetes will require one to three doses of medication daily. This can amount to a substantial amount of medical expense for any patient.
The cost of ongoing medication can be a huge burden for individuals and their families. Finding low cost prescription medication can help patients cut costs to their treatment plans.
Many pharmacies offer different prices for the same medication or drug. It is important to understand that although there may be a recommended retail price on a drug, some pharmacies can offer better prices for patients.
Buying online for example can help individuals lower their costs. Many online stores that sell diabetes medication can often offer these at lower prices. This is because they have lower running costs compared to traditional physical pharmacies.
Researching online as well as going into pharmacies for prices can be a great way of finding the best deals for you. This can help you cut the cost long-term.
4. Talking To Your Health Care Provider
Doctors and health care providers can assist individuals in a number of ways if you are experiencing medical debt. Health care providers always want to provide the best treatment and care. When a patient is unable to cover for these costs, health care providers are great resources to find solutions that can help patients overcome any financial barriers to receiving the right medication and treatment for diabetes.
The first step is to speak with your doctor or medical provider. Open communication can allow patients to get the most assistance from doctors. This means sharing your current financial circumstances and letting them know that you are unable to cover your medical bills.
Doctors may be able to offer free samples of medication or make referrals for further assistance. This can be a short term solution, but it can help patients who need urgent financial help.
There are also alternative drugs that individuals may be able to use instead of the brand-named medication that are currently using. These generic drugs can provide the same results but at a much lower cost. These include expensive generic medications for diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol can all be switched to more cheaper options.
Other options that a doctor may be of a assistance is providing a repayment plan for your medical bills. This can help patients who would like to make regular payments instead of paying a large lump sum. Often doctors are also open to reducing the cost of appointments fees.
5. Fundraising For Diabetes Financial Assistance
With a large number of complications that can occur when a loved one has diabetes, fundraising for financial assistance can be a great way to solve any urgent treatment or medical care.
For example, individuals who have kidney disease or have a kidney failure as a result of diabetes, can fundraise for the cost of a kidney transplant and surgery.
In addition, it is also common for individuals to raise funds for related cost to an amputation. Individuals may need to cover the cost of a prosthesis and several months of rehabilitation expenses.
Fundraising for diabetes medical expenses is helpful to give individuals who need urgent care the finances to be able to access the best treatments and medical assistance possible. It is easy to setup and run online. Donations are predominately given by family members, extended networks and friends. This is also a great way for your loved ones to show their support.
Another benefit of using fundraising methods for financial assistance is that you will be able to determine the best way to use the funds. Often with programs, assistance from non-profits and from governments, will have restrictions on the benefits as well as how the funds can be used. Individuals who create a fundraiser will be able to control how the funds are used to ensure that all funds are used to benefit the patient in the best way possible. This might be through paying for much needed surgery or even life-saving treatment that required a substantial amount of out of pocket.
1. Financial Help for Diabetes Care: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/financialhelp/#sec6
2. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012: http://professional.diabetes.org/News_Display.aspx?TYP=9&CID=91943&loc=ContentPage-statistics
3. Financial Coverage for Diabetes Expenses: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/consumer/financial.htm
4. Overall Numbers, Diabetes and Prediabetes: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/
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