The CDC estimates that around 1.5 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each and every year. Almost one-quarter of Americans now have diabetes.

You’re not alone. Getting enough diabetic supplies to properly test, treat and manage the condition can be cost-prohibitive.

But there are some very actionable ways to save significant money on supplies. And the great news is that in most case anyone can use, regardless of income.

Let’s take a look!

1. Check out Government Assistance Programs For Your Diabetic Supplies

First, find out what you qualify for. If you do qualify for some kind of assistance but aren’t using it, you could be leaving serious money on the table.

There may be government programs at a federal, state or local level. Don’t rule anything out. Here are some of the most common programs.

CHIP

If your child is in need of diabetes supplies, then CHIP may cover them. This is a state by state program called Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Sometimes a family’s income is too high for Medicaid. But they still can’t afford medical care. If this is your situation, CHIP may be designed for you.

Medicaid

This state program is designed for people who make under a certain income level. In order to qualify, you must also have few assets like savings, a home, etc.

Medicaid may fully or partially cover many diabetic supplies you need.

Medicare

If you’re over 65 or disabled, you may qualify for Medicare. Medicare fully covers medically-necessary diabetic supplies up to certain limits. In addition, they will pay for nutrition counseling and diabetes management.

These educational resources can help your supplies go further as they allow you to live a more quality life.

WIC

WIC stands for Women, Infants & Children. It will provide additional assistance above and beyond its normal function for pregnant women. If she either has diabetes or develops gestational diabetes, WIC will help the woman with grocery costs.

This is intended to help offset the cost of diabetic supplies and help the woman have better access to nutritious foods.

VA

The Department of Veteran Affairs runs clinics and hospitals around the country. They help Veterans gain affordable access to medical care. They also educate veterans about financial assistance they may qualify for.

The Bureau of Primary Health Care

This program, also called Hill-Burton Program, helps people who don’t have insurance get medical care, even if they know a person has no way to pay.

They work with individuals on a sliding scale to make sure no one goes without basic medical care.

2. Learn More About Non-Profit & For-Profit Programs

Certain non-profits, as well as, for-profit drug companies have programs to help those who have financial barriers get their diabetic supplies.

Eli Lilly & Company

This drug company has the LillyTruAssist program that provides life-saving insulin to those who can’t afford it.

Novo Nordisk

This drug company has a similar patient assistance program. It provides needles, insulin, kits and other supplies for certain people. You may qualify if:

  • Don’t qualify for government programs
  • Don’t have good insurance
  • Fall under a certain income level

The Foundation for Health Coverage Education

This program helps people find programs that they qualify for. They want to see no one left without diabetic supplies just because they couldn’t find the right program.

Together Rx

This is a discount card program for people without prescription coverage. It can save you 20% or more on diabetes supplies.

The program is limited to certain brands and vendors, so it may or may not save you the most on what you need. It’s worth checking out.

Script Relief

This program is similar to the last one. They can save you significant money on prescription drugs and supplies.

The Charles Ray III Diabetes Association

This organization hosts fundraisers and takes donations. They then use these to provide supplies to people who can’t afford them.

3. Buy Online

Brick & mortar stores have additional costs that online companies don’t have. They have to pay cashiers even when there’s no one in the store. They have to pay for inventory that sits on the shelf, waiting for you to buy it.

They have a higher loss due to damage and theft. These costs get passed onto you as a markup.

Buying online is like going straight to the source. They’ve streamlined everything to save you the most money possible.

There are many legitimate online pharmacies in the US. There are also some scammers.

Use tools like PharmacyChecker to ensure you’re working with a legit business.

4. Sell Your Excess Supplies

If you let extra supplies expire or go unused you’re wasting money. Maybe you got a bulk deal at Costco or Sam’s Club. Maybe a friend gave you a bunch of extras because they switched brands.

Don’t let these go to waste if you don’t need them. Many of the programs discussed above rely on the fact that you may not need all your strips to help them help more people.

You can get cash for diabetic test strips and other supplies.

5. Ask for Samples

Most medical supply companies get samples from their suppliers on occasion. The suppliers want them to hand them out so you’ll try their brand. Sometimes the company is too busy or just forgets they’re there.

These just stay in a box in the back until someone asks about them. A lot of these get thrown out because they expire.

That’s really sad when people like you may need them. Don’t hit up the same company every time. Alternate and be reasonable regarding how many they’ll give you.

Remember, they want you to buy supplies instead. If they give you too many, you won’t. But do check in with companies that sell diabetic supplies to see if they have samples.

6. Don’t Be Loyal Unless They Give You a Good Reason

This one seems a little nasty, but it’s totally true. Some big box pharmacies rely on the fact that many people don’t shop around. They can charge anything they want.

Up to a certain point, people will just pay it without question.

Don’t be afraid to shop around. The worst thing you can do is always buy your diabetic supplies from one place unless they’re giving you a stellar deal for loyalty.

7. Be on the Lookout for Deals

Keep many places on your radar. Sign up for their newsletters or deal flyers. Check what comes through direct mail.

It doesn’t take long to skim a dozen or so publications each week to see who’s got the best deal that week.

Time your purchases so that you can take advantage of these deals. And if you end up with too many supplies, refer back to number 4.

8. Take a Holistic Approach

A huge piece of the diabetes management puzzle is how you take care of yourself. You may be hyper-focused on those blood glucose readings. But, as you know, there’s much more to it than that.

Diet

Make an intention to prepare more whole food meals at home. This way you know what’s in your food. You’ll also save a lot of money when you don’t eat out so much.

Avoid processed foods, even ones marketed to diabetics. With just a little forethought, you can do better on your own.

We normally turn to these for convenience. But if you start simple, you’ll find it doesn’t take as long as you think to make your own nutritious meals. They don’t have to be elaborate.

Stay away from the Low-fat, No-fat trap. Most often, they add more sugar to these options.

Exercise

You know that exercise is important to managing your condition. When you move, it’s much easier to control blood sugar. It reduces insulin resistance and has been proven beneficial for both Type I and Type II.

Stress Management

Stress is a killer. There are no two ways about it.

When you’re stressed you may be more likely to stress eat. You may not take the best care of yourself.

As if things could get any worse, stress actually increases blood sugar. Diet and exercise will also help reduce stress.

Find ways to get stress under control and you will need fewer diabetic supplies.

Motivation

Seek out motivation. Find a health partner with a similar health situation. Encourage and motivate each other to take a more holistic approach to management of diabetes and/or other chronic conditions.

In doing so, you’re lower both of your expenses.

Take These Comprehensive Steps & Save On Diabetic Supplies

These tips will help you cut costs from every angle. You may qualify for money that helps pay for supplies. You now know how to save the most when you buy diabetic supplies.

We also took a look at how to get rid of excess supplies before they expire. And this list wouldn’t have been complete if we didn’t look at how to cut the number of supplies you need in the first place.

For more news and tips on staying healthy the smart way, follow our blog.

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How NEOFECT Created a Smart Glove (Robotic Arm) That Uses Online Gaming for Rehabilitation

Wearable technology keeps evolving. And it is transforming the way we experience the world. Watches, eyeglasses, rings, bracelets and even smart home devices like the thermostat are changing how we consumer information, monitor our health and use home products. Smart technology has a significant role to play in how people will live in the future.

NEOFECT wants to change how to aid rehabilitation and the provision of clinicial real-time patient data. In an interview with  Scott Kim, Neofect’s co-founder and CEO of the US office, he spoke to us about how he started NEOFECT, the company’s success factors and challenges they have faced in their bid to change physical therapy using online gaming.

Brief summary about your startup

Established in 2010, NEOFECT is a mobile health startup with a vision to deliver an affordable and effective at-home system to aid neuro patients with central nervous system disorders such as a stroke.

Its first product, RAPAEL Smart Glove, combines a wearable device, virtual reality and gamification for rehab exercise, while its software analyzes the data from built-in sensors and provides training tasks based on the patient’s activity level.

The device has been successfully employed by a number of major hospitals in South Korea since December of 2014, and approved for use in the US and Europe. NEOFECT has offices in S. Korea, San Francisco, and Poland.

Why and how it was started

The President of NEOFECT, Ho-Young Ban, experienced first-hand the difficulties faced by stroke patients and their families when his father and two uncles fell victims of stroke.

Although his uncles were fortunate to survive, they had to turn down the rehab therapy because of the costs involved. So, when his friend Young Choi came up with an idea of Rapael, Ban could not resist.

Soon after, their classmate from the University of Virginia’s Darden MBA program Scott Kim joined the team to launch the US operations.

Kim was born with spinal bifida and went through a surgery and a long rehabilitation process, so he immediately recognized the opportunity and became a co-founder and the CEO of the Neofect’s US office.

What has been the biggest success factors

Personal motivation of the founders combined with the latest, most advanced smart technologies have become the major engines behind the company’s success.

– Gamification, which motivates a patient throughout the rehab process. It helps to induce neuroplasticity for hand function of a patient with a brain damage.

Various rehab games are updated monthly and each game targets specific movements such as squeezing the orange for finger flexion/extension and pouring wine for forearm pronation/supination, for example.

– Artificial Intelligence: the software analyzes data from the glove’s sensors and provides training tasks based on the patient’s activity level. The algorithm is designed to enhance learning multiple functions by offering an optimal task at a proper level of difficulty.

– Wearable Device: RAPAEL Smart Glove is a wearable bio-feedback training gadget. Lightweight and designed to fit different hand sizes, it uses the Bluetooth technology to collect the patient’s data.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running the company?

The biggest challenge was the product’s concept itself. Many people believed that Rapael could be a threat to the therapists. Fortunately, after we launched the program in several hospitals, we’ve been able to prove that our device is designed with the doctors’ and patient’s needs in mind and helps them make the rehabilitation process more efficient.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

This sounds like a cliché, but the right team is easily the answer to me. With the right people, you can make necessary adjustments based on new information to make sure there is a product-market fit.

My previous job was to lead a team to make mobile apps – without any exception, all great apps loved by users were made by great teams.

Final words for those chasing the startup dream

Never underestimate the importance of execution. Many people waste their time just to validate what they think or others think, or even just to finish the conceptualization.

However, you should “fail fast” in order concentrate your efforts on building a product which has a market demand, and of course, to save time and money as well.

Plus, you should fail while you are small rather than big, if you’re meant to face it. The earlier you do the reality check, the faster you can reach your goal, although it might cost you a couple of failures at the beginning.

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