Houston, Texas (NAPSI) - While diabetes continues to be on the rise in America, there are ways you can deal with it. It may help to know that an American is diagnosed every 17 seconds, and the Centers for Disease Control estimates that by 2050, as many as a third of the U.S. population will have diabetes.

Not only is it a common disease but it is a costly one; people living with diabetes spend 2½ times more on health care than the average consumer and approximately $350 annually on over-the-counter health products, including critical diabetes testing supplies. In fact, many Medicare patients rely on Part B coverage to secure their diabetes testing supplies.

However, due to changes to the Medicare program beginning July 1, 2013, those with diabetes may not be able to purchase their testing supplies where they have in the past. The following tips may help Medicare patients manage their diabetes effectively and affordably:

Visit a CVS/pharmacy for Testing Supplies: CVS/pharmacy will continue to accept Medicare B coverage for diabetes testing supplies and will continue to stock all major brands. Medicare patients can also receive a 90-day supply of prescription test strips for the same low Medicare co-pay as mail order.

Test Your Blood Sugar Regularly and Talk to Your Pharmacist: One of the most important ways for diabetic patients to manage their disease is to perform regular testing of their blood sugar, or glucose, levels. CVS pharmacists are available every day to speak with their patients about managing their diabetes and answer their questions about prescription and over-the-counter medications. Pharmacists can also help patients with new paperwork from their doctors' offices required by changes to Medicare coverage of diabetes testing supplies.

Enroll in Savings Programs: These, such as the CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes program, offer great opportunities for people living with diabetes. It's free to ExtraCare cardholders and provides an additional layer of savings and benefits for customers with diabetes and their caregivers. Members who sign up for the program get Double ExtraBucks Rewards on more than 100 products throughout the year.