Last December I wrote a post talking about grocery shopper’s cards and the great savings you can get from them. Even though I wasn’t 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 have that are pretty tasty.

New-York 2014
Creative Commons License Denis Bocquet via Compfight

Recently I’ve discovered something that’s even more beneficial, depending on your malady. Presently I don’t have health insurance, and unfortunately I’m diabetic. I’m also on insulin, a mix, to help supplement my other medication. It’s not until you don’t have insurance that you find out how much stuff really costs; shocking!

At the same time, it’s not until you have to start shopping around that you find some very strange and interesting deals. It seems that if you have a lot of local grocery stores that have pharmacies and a lot of pharmacies around you’ll find that each store seems to have a special price for certain types of things, not necessarily diabetes.

Here’s an example. The insulin I take is known as Humulin 70/30. It normally comes in what’s called a pen, where you attach a needle when it’s time for an injection, you turn the bottom to the dosage you need, and then you inject yourself. The price for this is at least $265 a box. I say that because when I started looking around the price went from that up to $399 a box; ouch! Depending on your dose, a box could last you a month, or possibly less; that’s a lot of money.

However, it turns out that Walmart has its own version of that same medication, in vials, for less than $25 per vial. Two vials equals a month’s supply when compared to the Humulin 70/30, which means it costs me less than $50 a month, and there’s no tax; stunning!

I know someone’s out there saying “yeah, but that’s Walmart”. Here’s the deal. With vials you now need syringes. Walmart charges $35 for 100 syringes. Locally the range for syringes was between $29 and $55; interesting isn’t it? However, one store in my area actually gives you syringes for free as long as you have a prescription; what?!?!? Yes, it’s true! So, that’s the store I go to for those; nice savings, eh? And since I inject twice a day, that means they last a month and a half; at free, that’s fantastic.

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. That’s not too costly so no big deal you say. However, at the store I share a backyard with they give you Lipitor for free. Did I say free? Yes, it’s free! If I wanted the stronger medication I could have my doctor call it in and I could get it for free. But since I’m hoping I’m only temporarily on this stuff I’m sticking with what I’m taking, which is only $4 for a month’s supply.

Here’s the thing. Even if you have insurance, if you owe a co-pay that’s around $40 looking into stores that might offer what you need to take at a lower price might be a smart way to go. When my wife was working at the hospital we got a special deal, but if I’d had to buy those medications elsewhere I’d have had a 40% co-pay for them. For that insulin, it means I’d have had to pay more than $100 for it in some places, whereas at Walmart I’d have only had to pay $15; I’m thinking that’s a deal worth looking into.

It pays to shop around for expensive things anyway, but hopefully you’ll be able to find the types of deals I have in your area.

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