Some years ago I wrote a post talking about grocery shopper’s cards and the great savings you can get from them. Even though I’m not someone with a pattern of going to lots of different stores for groceries, since I literally share a backyard with one, I have found not only great deals here and there at other places but foods my own store doesn’t sell that are pretty tasty, along with items that my normal grocery store stops stocking. I’m not disloyal; I just like what I like.

New-York 2014
Denis Bocquet via Compfight

I’ve discovered something even more beneficial to almost everyone; it regards your health. Whether or not you have insurance (which I hope you do), it’s possible to save money on your medication and supplies.

I have health insurance through my state’s exchange, but even though I’m diabetic, my medications can be costly since everything goes to my deductible. I’m also on insulin, which helps supplement my other medication. There are a couple of other things I take that could be expensive… if I hadn’t decided to stop around for the best deal possible.

It’s not until you start shopping around that you find some very interesting deals. If you live in a large to moderate city or town you probably have a lot of local grocery stores with pharmacies, as well as pharmacies themselves. What I’ve found is that each store seems to have a special price catering to certain types of maladies, not only diabetes.

Here’s an example. The insulin I used to take was called Humulin 70/30. It came in what’s called a pen, where you attach a needle when it’s time for an injection, turned this knob at the bottom to the dosage you need, and then injected yourself. The price for this back then was at least $265 a box. Depending on your dose a box could last you two weeks to a month; that’s a lot of money.

These days there are lots of stories about the rising cost of insulin. I’m not going to claim to be an expert on all the types of insulin. However, it turns out that Walmart has its own version of that same medication, in vials, for less than $25 per vial (the 70/30; I’m not sure how much their regular insulin is). Two vials lasts me upwards of a month to six week, which means it costs me less than $50 a month, tax free; isn’t that wild!

I know someone’s out there saying “yeah, but that’s Walmart”. But wait; there’s more. lol

With vials you need syringes. Depending on which state you’re in, Walmart charges between $10 and $35 for 100 syringes. The range for syringes in most of the other places I checked was between $29 and $55; interesting isn’t it? However, one store in my area gives you syringes for free as long as you have a prescription.

What?!?!? It’s true! Obviously that’s the store I go to for syringes; nice savings, right? Since I alternate in injecting between once or twice a day (depending on how my glucose control is going), that means they last anywhere from a month and a half to 8 months… all free!

Do you have a high cholesterol level? I don’t really, but because I’m diabetic my doctor has put me on something; ugh. I’m not on Lipitor because that’s a pretty strong medication, but what if I was? At most stores Lipitor can cost you as much as $20 for a month’s prescription. Yet I found a store where Lipitor was free… read that again, free! Who doesn’t want free medication?

Let’s say you do have insurance, but it doesn’t pay enough to make it easy for you to get your medications. Many places have discount cards that can reduce the costs of many medications for as much as 50%, even after insurance has paid their portion. You’ll also find that at more regular pharmacies, you can get discounts off all types of medical supplies that might not be covered by insurance. Just like store cards, you’ll find stores like Rite Aid that have their own discount cards that also allow you to accumulate points for bigger discounts as your points grow.

The last thing I want to talk about is tertiary insurance or supplemental insurance coverage for medications or supplies. My mother has Tricare, which is military insurance coverage, and it turns out that not every pharmaceutical provider will accept military medical benefits. This took some shopping around when my mother moved in with me but I found a chain that accepts it and you wouldn’t believe the drastic savings. I’ve never had to pay more than $3.50 for any medication she needs!

It pays to shop around for expensive things anyway, but hopefully you’ll be able to find the types of medication and medical supply deals I’ve found in your area.

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