For about a year and a half I was without health insurance. I know I'm not alone in this experience so I thought I'd pass along some of my experiences and maybe you all could do the same.
Before I discovered some of the tricks to affording this disease, a few months it came down to paying my rent or paying for meds. So essentially, I igonored the meds and hoped the problem would go away by itself. When it didn't and I found out I REALLY needed the meds here's some of the stuff I found out.
Don't be so proud as to not tell your docs that you are unemployed or self employed without health insurance. Most of them are sympathetic to this fact and if you ask (and don't be scared to ask) They'll give you as many samples of the medication you need as they can get away with . This can cut your costs dramatically. I used to tell my Endo guy that his fee was the equiv of a whole months worth of meds and he'd raid the medicine cabinet and give me tons of samples.
Hospitals will rip you off if you don't have insurance and don't stand up for yourself. They have a very low charge for Ins. companies but a "full retail" for those not covered. Go to the billing dept. and tell them your situation and many times they can put you on a program where you pay a fraction of the acutal cost. I used to go to a clinic at a hospital and get to see all the specialists I could see in a day for a flat charge of $32 once I'd registered with the hospital. As an inpatient, you don't get slaughtered with costs that take you years to climb out from under if you badger the billing dept and cut as many deals as you can.
Prescription cards - you can of course pay for these, they are about $100 for a year, but there are free ones on the web if you search. They allow you to go into most drugstores and pay a dramtically reduced rate on meds. Will the drugstore tell you about this? Usually not, but they cheerfully honor them if you have them. I used a combo of a Prescription card and getting my meds across the border to make my monthly med charges affordable. Use the web to compare prices.
Drug Companies - all the major drug companies have programs in place that you can find that will allow you to pay anywhere from 0%-50% of the cost of meds if you don't have health insurance. Ask your doctor. Find a diabetes clinic and ask them. Look on the web or Call Pfizer, Aventis, etc and ask them what programs they have in place. If you find yourself unemployed, many times you can get your meds for free or almost free.
I didn't mean to be long winded, but I feel that no one with diabetes should be put at risk because they can't "afford" the disease. If you have been or are in this situation, and you have advice on how to manage the costs of this disease, share!!