I haven’t added a Ways to Save post in a while, and I thought it was about time. Recently I needed to find ways to lower costs for someone, and we discovered that incontinence pads were a big part of his monthly budget expenses. I did a little research to find ways to reduce costs, and I hope that the information below might be of help to some of you or some of your friends or family members.
There are two choices for incontinence pads—cloth and disposable. Cloth will be less expensive in the long term because there is one purchase cost. Factoring in whether or not the person can clean the pads him or herself and if they live in a facility which will clean the pads for him or her, may or may not eliminate this option. One must also weigh the time and cost of cleaning the pads into whether or not this is a good option. One benefit of the cloth pads that I have seen in more than one person is that they are easier on the skin. I knew a lady who had a long experience with skin breakdown and finally a CNA realized that it was around the areas where the disposable diapers would rub. They switched her to cloth and almost instantly the problem was resolved.
Use coupons. Periodically there are coupons in the Sunday papers for incontinence pads. Do a quick search at Taylor Town Preview under their Master List heading of all of the major brands (Depends, TENA, etc). There are also printable coupons available on the Attends, Depends and Poise websites. You may have to sign up for their mailing list before you can access coupons. Other companies may offer coupons if you phone their customer service line and ask to receive some.
Free Samples. For free samples click the links below. Often, these samples have high dollar coupons inside of them. If you are a physician, you might be able to receive more free samples for your patients through these companies. Remember that you can sign up for free samples at multiple addresses. My dad was a little taken aback when he saw the free sample for TENA pads arrive in the mailbox and thought I had inquired about them for him. I had completely forgotten to tell him that I had signed up for the sample at his address so that I could give the friend another pad.
Walmart frequently offers Poise and TENA samples.
Buy generic. A friend said that he found that the cost of the name brand products, even with a coupon from the free sample I gave him, was higher than the Assurance brand at Walmart. As with any purchase, I recommend that you look at the price per unit and compare which will be better.
Use catalinas. CVS and Walgreens regularly offer catalina deals on incontinence pads. Look at the price with that discount and any coupons you might have to see if the deal is worth working.
Buy in bulk or online. Contact your doctor’s office and see which companies and pharmacies he or she recommends. Usually the nurses in the office work pretty closely with those businesses and are able to tell you which ones have the client as their priority. If you don’t find much information at your doctor’s office, I recommend contacting a local assisted living facility or nursing home to see where they order from. Many businesses offer free and discreet shipping for orders. One more place to check is your local warehouse store (Sam’s and Costco, being two). My experience is that sometimes the cost per unit is lower there.
Watch for them in unusual places. One reader Lecia Moreau let me know the following tip when I inquired on Facebook about ways to save:
I meant to let you know that the 407 flea market has store brand adult briefs for $5.00, there is a little store in the front of the indoor part, that carries all kinds of things pretty cheap.
The next time you are at a flea market, you might want to watch for them there. (Lecia is referring to the flea market off of I-40 Exit number 407 at the Sevierville exit. You can see the flea market from the interstate). I’ve also found them from time to time at estate sales, yard sales and church sales. If the bag is unopened, the contents unused, and the sizes are right, you might want to pick up as many as you can if the deal is good. Thanks Lecia!
Insurance and reimbursement programs:
- If you have Medicaid and your doctor prescribes the incontinence pads due to a medical reason, insurance will most likely pay. I recommend working with your PCP and a pharmacy who regularly purchases incontinence pads for clients. I phoned my doctor’s office to inquire about this, and his nurse recommended Riggs Pharmacy in Powell. I phoned them and found the staff willing to help and extremely knowledgeable.
- Save your receipts from purchases of incontinence pads which aren’t reimbursed for your accountant. If the pads are related to a specific medical condition, you can ask your accountant about claiming them as a medical expense. It might not hurt to keep a prescription or letter from your doctor in your file just in case you are audited.
- If you have a HSA or FSA account, you can most likely submit receipts for reimbursement. Plans may vary, and I recommend speaking with your representative to be sure.
- If your condition is a result of a service related disability and you are a veteran, you should contact your state’s office of veteran affairs about filing a claim. I asked our local Knox County office about this, and he said that in some circumstances that this can be covered. As with any claim, it is best to bring your paperwork to the Veterans Affairs office and review it with the representatives there. Many people think of service related disabilities as only being gunshot wounds but exposure to radiation and certain chemicals could relate to infections or illnesses later in life (urinary tract cancers being one).
- Some pharmacies offer discount programs where you can receive a percentage off of certain purchases. Walgreens, for instance, offers a Prescription Savings Club and it is my understanding that the Walgreens brand of incontinence pads are offered at a lower rate for people in this plan. As with any plan, I recommend speaking with the pharmacist or representative before signing up to answer any questions you might have.
- At one time the Caregivers Marketplace offered rebates for incontinence pads. I contacted them directly, and they do not at this time. However, they said that may change in the future and to check their site periodically.
Charity Organizations. Contact your local Office on Aging and inquire about any charity organizations that give adult diapers to those in need. I phoned our local 211 and learned that the Ladies of Charity give adult diapers to those in need in the community no more than 4xs/year with at least 30 days in between requests.
If you know of any other programs or discounts for incontinence pads, please leave a comment so that all might benefit. If you’ve had a personal experience with a company or product and would like to share information, please also feel free. (SPAMmers who leave comments with their websites will not be approved). I very much hope that this information will be of benefit to some of you. I will try to update the post with any information that I learn of in the future.