Supplies without insurance: Monthly cost?

Hey folks,

So I'm fundraising for the walk to cure diabetes in my town again this year and am getting a poster together to put up in the staff room of the office building i work out of.

Originally, I was going to offer 50% of any portrait session through my photography company to be donated...but after finding out today I will be without a license for 3months due to ICBC's graduated licensing program..I can't really do any photography for the next three months! (i'm pretty pissed).

I want to put on the poster some information on the costs of diabetes. I'm sure I could look at my monthly insurance coverage and do it up...but my insurance covers so much(since I have so many prescriptions such as birthcontrol that it covers) that sorting through all my claims would take forever.

If any of you who do not currently have insurance through work or the government(Pharmacare if you're in Canada) I would GREATLY appreciate you replying with the following information:

Do you live in the US or Canada or UK?
Pump or MDI?
What do supplies do you purchase on a monthly basis(anything related to diabetes that is not medication for a side effect)?
What is your monthly bill for supplies?
What is your yearly income aka between 20k-30k (you don't have to give it, but it'll help give an idea as to how much money you make annually is used to cover your supplies)


Much appreciated! Any questions about this, please let me know :)

(I did try google and just got information on low cost supply sites..)



no one wants to help me out? :(

I would help you out but we have insurance. If I dug out all my paper work I could see how much they cost without it its on the papers from the pharmacy what it would be without my insurance. I have to leave here soon tho so if you want when I get back I can add up what it would be with out the insurance.

that's okay Jessica, I could do the same but that's a LOT of work for anyone, so don't worry about it :) Thanks for offering too though! I'm gonna try another search and see if i can find some stats.

lol I might do it anyhow because my hubby just got a new job so we will be without insurance for a while and I am curious what its all going to be out of pocket. I know what the test strips are monthly because I have had to buy those out of pocket before. I know I can get a box of pen needle tips for 11 bucks but the insulin is the big one I need to know. Thankfully I should have to only buy 2 bottles of levemir while we are waiting for the new insurance to kick in.



novolog flexpens



flexpen needles

alcohol wipes

one touch test strips (that is the biggest cost)

493 before taxes (not sure if there are taxes on rx meds or not)


Not sure how many responses you'll get because it's an extremely bad situation for any diabetic not to have health insurance because then you when you finally do get insurance, you're labeled as having a 'pre-existing condition', which is a horror and you won't be covered on any supply or medication for at least a year. I unfortunately have two Type 1 friends in this bad situation [due to recession in the last 18 months]. They have ways to get their medications and supplies cheap though. Got to get crafty when you're put in a situation like that.

But in the states you usually get your supplies 3 or 4 times a year. I remember seeing the insurance paperwork in the supplies box and it saying my supplies cost roughly $1600. And i get these supplies 4 times a year. Imagine paying 8k+ on just testing and pump supplies a year??! Unbelievable! 

Unfortunately I had my insurance changed and so this lovely insurance company doesn't cover too many supplies for us Type 1s. I have a $500 deductible and they don't like Freestyle test strips so i have to pay $125 for 6 boxes. I used to get these for free with my other insurance. I also pay about $525 for all my pump supplies when i need them. So it's been a really hard transition to go from 100% covered diabetic supplies to finding thousands to pay for them.

Oh the joys of health insurance companies!!

Not sure if this helped, but thought i'd throw some numbers at you.

Jessica - Thank you! :)


Aimee - only 3 or 4 times a year? how does that work? I go on a almost monthly trip to get needles, test strips, etc. unless i buy multiple boxes at a time of strips and more than one box of needles. Granted, I have insurance so all I gotta do is call up the store and then pick them up and pay my 20%(my deductible is $1000 but i usually hit that fast between weekly physio costs).

In Canada we have Pharmacare which covers most diabetic supplies(there are some, like when I started lantus, that are on the approval waiting list) but if you don't fall into the low income and other requirements, you can't get that coverage. It means a lot of Middle Class Canadians still pay out of pocket for supplies, if their job does not offer insurance. It's not too common, but it still happens.

There are a ton of pharmaceutical supply companies that give you a 3 months worth of supplies, which depending on how you use them could last you an extra 2-4 or so weeks. Most prescriptions are usually given in 3 month supplies, though some insurance companies want you to buy your prescriptions monthly.

Same thing with insulin and also depending on the insurance company. I used to get 8 bottles of Novolog for only $10 with 1 insurance which would last me roughly 4-5 months and now i get only 2 bottles of insulin for $30 which lasts me about 6 weeks. So again, lets get this straight 8 bottles for $10 compared to 2 bottles for $30. It's a $110 difference overall. Disgusting. We don't need to be approved for meds or supplies but some insurance companies will prefer certain brands, like how i wrote that my insurance doesn't prefer Freestyle test strips so i have to pay more. They also don't like my pump either, so i pay more. Needless to say, i have not be very happy with this new insurance plan.

I guess our prescriptions would differently. I only get a prescription when I switch insulin, and once it's in the database, I can go whenever I want and buy as much or as little as I want of that insulin from any pharmacy in BC for the rest of my life(if i were to never switch insulin brands again), same with the pens.The pharmacy and insurance company's will only dish out up to 3months at a time max, but there's nothing on the actual prescription that limits me to 3months or anything.

maybe i'm just confused though and that's what you mean. lol

our insurance companies also have "preferred" or "approved" brands, but once it's approved by Pharmacare, the insurance companies pretty much have to cover it. when I switched to lantus we had to pay the full cost, because it hadn't been approved..but once Pharmacare put it on their approved coverage list, all the insurance companies had to approve it.

I wish here the doctor has to write out how many refills you get and if they run out you have to go to them to get another. Which with some things I can see but insulin and diabetic supplies hello!

The insurance company we have now and the new companies is the same and the hmo doesnt have a preexisting clause in it. So there we dont have to worry about that. Only the hmo is like that tho the ppo you have to pay 6 months of premiums before you are covered.

I know my pump itself is almost $8,000 year if I didn't have insurance!!! That doesn't include the insulin or any other supplies!

Hi Aimee,

I had the same problem with my insurance company and freestyle test strips. I was told by my pump company about a program called the freestyle promise program. You should look into it they cover up to half the price of the test strips I believe it is once a month. It doesnt cost anything to join and it has helped me tremendously with costs !! Hope this helps take care !!

Thank you for reminding me!! I signed up awhile ago and got my card in the mail about 2 weeks ago. I have to call them up asap and get this savings thing started. I wasn't sure what to do once i signed up and received my card. I'm so happy that companies offer savings like this. I really love freestyle.

It really is a life saver !! If you have the card already all you have to do is bring it to your local pharmacy and when you fill your prescription they use the card to ring it up and it acts similar to a coupon. They cover a certain amount of the cost for the test strips !! I am glad you have already have taken advantage of it ! Take care :)