Samantha Markovitz, NBC-HWC
If you were recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), you may be wondering how your new diagnosis will affect planning for the future. There are the obvious considerations for people with T1D, like the physical management of the condition — and then the less obvious, like the emotional effects.
Perhaps the least anticipated area of life after diagnosis is the financial impact of T1D.
Being aware of the expense associated with T1D in the United States is an important first step toward making a financial plan. Here's what you need to know if you've been diagnosed with T1D and are planning for the future.
Why is financial planning so important?
Having a financial plan for your future (both for the immediate and long-term) is important for everyone. Living with T1D makes a financial plan essential as there are more anticipated costs, as well as surprise costs, that can come up along the way.
These expenses can quickly have an effect on other areas of financial planning in your life, so having a comprehensive plan to address them can alleviate some stress. Once you've identified the fixed costs and potential expenses, you can make a plan to cover them.
What are the costs of living with T1D?
There are a number of expenses that people living with T1D incur, some on a routine basis and some from time to time. Here are several of the regular costs associated with T1D management:
Insulin and other medications
Alcohol swabs and adhesives
Copays for endocrinologist and other associated medical appointments
Healthy food for a balanced diet
Treatments for hypoglycemia (glucose tabs, juice, etc.)
Comprehensive health insurance coverage that helps pay for some T1D management costs
Addressing the costs of living with T1D
The reality is that T1D can be an expensive condition to live with. It is easy to get overwhelmed thinking about the financial costs of living with diabetes. However, strategically approaching how to address them will help you be as prepared as possible.
Simply having a plan in place can put your mind at ease! Here are three things that can help with the costs when planning for the future:
1. Health insurance
Take the time to understand the kind of coverage you have and utilize the insurance to the best of your ability to mitigate out-of-pocket costs. Try to utilize in-network providers and formulary medications and devices to better anticipate your costs over the year.
If your plan is a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), try to make the most of your health savings account (HSA). HSA funds are deposited pretax, which can help save some money.
Consider your personal needs to determine the best policy for you when open enrollment comes around, taking into account premium costs, deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket maximums. If you do not have insurance through your employer, you may be eligible to get covered through your state healthcare exchange or Medicaid.
2. A budget
If you have trouble envisioning how to incorporate the costs of living with T1D into your current financial situation, a formal budget might be helpful. There are different ways of going about a budget, but the important thing about it is anticipating your significant costs for the month and year(s) ahead and planning to make sure those expenses are covered.
Staying organized and knowing how much money is coming in and where it is going can help you see where there is opportunity to put money away for future use. You can also look to save money by purchasing your diabetes supplies from a medical equipment distributor that can offer lower prices and ship right to your home.
3. Your savings account(s)
Consult your budget to determine an amount of money from each paycheck to set aside for the purpose of paying for diabetes-related expenses. If you have an HSA, this is a pretax contribution. If not, it can still be helpful to have money that already has a task assigned to it in helping you pay for your care. You can use this method to help you plan for other important expenses, like a mortgage or the costs of raising a family.
As you begin planning for the future, remember that you can always consult a trusted friend in the diabetes community — or a financial advisor — about strategic ways to deal with the expense of living with T1D. If you go through a period of time when planning for the future seems too daunting, break down your financial needs and goals into more manageable pieces and work on one at a time.
There are also community resources available to assist in times of hardship. Taking just one step toward anticipating and addressing T1D costs can go a long way in helping you enjoy a financially stable future with diabetes.
Interested in learning more about planning for your future? Read about navigating life insurance with T1D on the Edgepark website.