Wallet-saving tip #1: Get on the register
The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) currently provides government-subsidised products (including blood-testing strips, urine-glucose and ketone strips, syringes and pen needles) to people living with diabetes. If you monitor at home and/or take insulin or an injectable medication, this will provide big savings. It’s free to join but you will need to have your doctor or diabetes educator sign the registration form. Visit ndss.com.au for details.
KEEP IN MIND:
After July 1 of 2016, people with type 2 who are not using insulin will have restricted access to test strips. If this describes your kind of diabetes, speak with your GP or diabetes educator to see if you are still eligible to receive subsidised strips.
Wallet-saving tip #2: Access your rebate
Having diabetes can mean a lot of trips to the doctor! While Medicare will give you a rebate for visits to your GP and/or endocrinologist, most doctors will charge a gap. This can vary greatly, so ask about costs when you book and remember that most doctors offer reduced rates for pensioners and Health Care Card holders. While some GPs do bulk bill, this is more common in larger medical centres where you may not always get to see the same doctor.
Wallet-saving tip #3: Build a management plan
Want a private session with a dietitian or diabetes educator? Ask your GP tp arrange a Chronic Disease Management Plan. This will give you a referral to various allied health professionals for up to five Medicare-subsidised visits annually. Most private health funds will also give rebates for allied heath under extras cover.
Wallet-saving tip #4: Find a cheaper meter
Just been diagnosed or in need of a new blood glucose meter? Speak with your GP or diabetes educator, who may be able to give you one for free. If they can’t, you could be eligible for a rebate for your meter if you have extras cover on your private health insurance.
Wallet-saving tip #5: Get your pump covered
Costing around $8000, pumps certainly don’t come cheap! If your doctor recommends a pump and you have private hospital cover, your fund will pay the cost. So if you want a pump and don’t have private cover, it’s worth joining up. You’ll need to sit out the 12-month waiting period, but most companies will loan you a pump in the meantime if you are keen to get started. The consumables (infusion sets and reservoirs) are subsidised on the NDSS for those with type 1 – but not type 2 – and the subsidised cost is about $25-$30 per month.
KEEP IN MIND:
The Type 1 Diabetes Insulin Pump Program is a government initiative designed to make insulin pumps more affordable and accessible for Australian families. The subsidy is means tested and ranges from 10 per cent (or $500, whichever is greater) to 80 per cent of the cost of the pump. It is available to children under 18 who are eligible for Medicare, have type 1 and don’t have private health insurance. Go to jdrf.org.au for more information.
Wallet-saving tip #6: Get more from your meds
Eating healthily and exercising regularly may reduce the amount of medication you need to take in the long term, but you can also try these tips from NPS Medicinewise:
1. Ask about switching to a generic medicine as they are often cheaper.
2. If you use a lot of a non-prescription medicine, ask your doctor whether getting it on prescription will cost you less.
3. If you take a higher dose of a medicine than the usual PBS prescription allows, ask your doctor whether an authority prescription could reduce your costs.
4. Ask about a different strength of medicine. For example, you may be able to take one higher-strength tablet rather than two lower-strength tablets to reduce your number of prescriptions.