Insurance Rambling

For those of you that may not know … Diabetes Management is not cheap.  Not in the least bit.  I have been spoiled to an extent, regarding my insurance coverage for my D-supplies.  At my last job, where I worked for 7 1/2 years… I didn’t have to pay a DIME for my supplies. Not one single penny. And boy do I miss that now!  They paid 100% for my d-supplies, my BP and my cholesterol meds.  All I had to pay for was my thyroid meds, and even that was very inexpensive.

I knew my insurance would be ending at the end of 2011, so I refilled everything in December.  And I upgraded to my new pump. Now I have new insurance and it’s taking some creative budgeting to work it all in.  I have to meet my deductible to pay for my Medtronic pump supplies and CGM sensors, which I just opened the last box so that means I need to place my reorder. And now I have a co-pay for all of my other maintenance meds. I should know this week how much damage that’s gonna do :/

The thing that gets me the most is that I don’t have a choice to not take these meds.  Sure, I could skip the bp, cholesterol, and thyroid ones. It’s not going to be good for me, necessarily, but it won’t kill me if I skip a day here and there. It is not an option to not take the insulin.  So no matter the cost, I have to fill that one.  My life depends on it. And of course there is no generic available, so it’s always the most expensive copay offered.

When I take my blood sugar, it is always in the back of my mind that I don’t want to test unnecessarily, because that would be “wasting” a test strip. And those puppies aren’t cheap.  I only get so many with each refill, and when they’re gone, they’re gone, until the insurance company says I can refill it.   At the Type1Now conference I attended last weekend, I was given a new One Touch Ultra Mini meter.  Up to that point, I did not have a spare meter, and had on more than one occasion, forgotten my meter at home and had to make WAG’s in order to bolus throughout the day.  So I brought home my fancy new meter.  I had just gotten an Rx last week for a 3 month refill for my Freestyle Flash meter so insurance won’t likely cover a new Rx for the One Touch. Luckily it comes with 10 test strips. And since it’s a spare, that should last a while (hopefully).  You can buy them over the counter, but wowzas.

I am thankful that I at least have insurance coverage.  I realize not everyone is that lucky. I was talking to someone recently that lives in another country and she cannot get an insulin pump because she has to prove to the government that she needs one.  I am SO incredibly thankful to live where I live, and all my dr had to do was write out the ol’ “letter of necessity” letter, and my insurance company fills the order and sends me a bill.  Easy peasy. 😉




About Shannon

I am a wife, a mommy, and a Type 1 diabetic (since '92.) I have had two successful pregnancies - one of which was with twins. I wear an insulin pump- - off and on for 17 years; currently on the Medtronic pump and CGM. I am not a medical professional, nor am I giving medical advice. I am just sharing my day to day stories of someone who lives with this disease every day. My ultimate goal is to raise awareness.
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4 Responses to Insurance Rambling

  1. lovehatediabetes says:

    Hi Shannon! I’m thankful you have some sort of insurance! I can’t image being kicked off mine and having to find a new one. Was it hard for you to find an alternative insurance after your job? From what I’ve learned in college, most medical insurance companies will deny people with preexisting conditions (like diabetes). Although I am on my own insurance plan, I’m afraid that some day they can kick me off.

    • Shannon says:

      Thanks for the reply! When I lost my job in 2010, I was able to stay on Cobra. Then in 2012, I went on my husband’s insurance since it was slightly better than the plan my current company offers. As long as you don’t have a lapse in active coverage greater than 63 days, they cannot deny you for pre-existing conditions. But if you do have that lapse (>=63 days), then that’s when it becomes a problem getting new coverage. If you do find someone to cover you, likely you will be paying out the wazoo for it. Not only am I a T1, but I also work in HR, so I am all too familiar with how insurance companies work. :/

  2. Keiran says:

    I had this post open to comment on, before I saw your tweet about the new insurance company limiting test strips. 😦 Are you going to contest the decision.. see if you can try to get the amount of strips upped, even a little? I know pretty much nothing about Liberty Medical (other than having seen their commercials on TV); but would you qualify for their “little-to-no-cost” diabetes supplies program? It might only be for people on Medicare, which would suck, but if not…? Maybe that’d help offset cost a little?

    I definitely understand the struggle to figure out what meds/supplies you “can live without” thanks simply to cost and insurance coverage. Since I’m right on that “cusp” of becoming diabetic, my doctor used to have me test regularly. Thanks to the job change & new crappy insurance – I had to give that up, and depend just on the A1C tests a couple times a year. And of course, with the steroid shots I have to get for my knees & tailbone – that can mess with those numbers. :\

    Things got worse this school year, with the changes to our plans. I almost had to stop taking Januvia, because I flat out couldn’t afford it anymore. My doctor was insanely wonderful, though, and gave me 6 months worth of sample packs of it, to help out. Have to go back in 2 weeks to get more of those. Same with all the medications I have to take for my migraines and arthritis: I had to go to my doctors to consult on those meds, just to see if there were more “cost-effective” alternatives that still worked for me. Hell – there’s three meds I have to take daily just to keep my headaches to the minimal amount of pain so I can function; and that doesn’t evem include the 2 different kinds of meds I have to have to combat migraines when they hit. Thankfully the three meds all serve a dual purpose for me: two also help my knees, and one helps my blood pressure. Otherwise, I’d need extra meds that I can’t afford for the non-migraine issues.

    So, yes. Welcome to the “Insurance-can-kiss-my-a$$” club. And here’s to hoping the Affordable Care Act is held up by the Supreme Court, and that public health care kicks in. Hopefully that will help combat the money-grubbing insurance companies, and get prices down to a better level; instead always being raised to line the pockets of the INS execs pockets. 😉

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