Last time I went to my endo, we discussed my preparations for pregnancy. After that appointment I realized just how fortunate I am to have the luxury of using an insulin pump. This little device, my sidekick, always in my way when I try to get dressed, the mess of wire that’s been burned into my brain like muscle memory when I toss and turn at night – bring the pump with you as you turn… This tiny piece of machinery, which retails for over 5k, makes my life so much easier. It’s a modern convenience. After that appointment, I even got an upgraded pump a week later. Apparently, the latest settings on the Medtronic Revel are even more fine-tuned and will be beneficial once I become pregnant.
All I had to do to get this shiny new life-saving ‘gadget’ was to finish paying this year’s deductible. Still, I cringed handing over my year’s bonus to my insurance company. But then, I sat and thought for a while, the same way I’ve sat each time I’ve started to write this blog entry; a little numb, fortunate, frustrated, confused, longing to read and research and do more. Why?
DIABETES COSTS TOO MUCH.
There are children with type 1 diabetes in the developing world who can expect to live about a year once diagnosed. A YEAR. Why? Lack of access to insulin. Lack of funds to pay for insulin. That’s at least 50-60 years behind the world I live in. With my modern technology I feel so incredibly fortunate. It’s not fair, and it’s not right. And, then there’s America, a country where no one has any damn idea what the real cost of care, including diabetes care, is. Without health insurance, I cannot imagine being able to afford the supplies and the care I need to live as close to a normal life as possible. As put it in his book The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Healthcare, by T.R. Reid, the moral decision this country has made, is that ‘despite all the rights and privileges and entitlements that Americans enjoy today, we have never decided to provide medical care for everybody who needs it.” Without access to care, and without good insurance, diabetes is a much different reality to many.
Let me prove that the monthly cost of type 1 diabetes care is too much. Take a look at my latest prescription and supply costs before insurance has covered anything and see how much a type 1 diabetic without insurance who uses a pump might pay. (Keep in mind this is my own personal treatment plan.)
For ONE month of treatment, here is an estimate of the retail costs of the supplies I use.
Mio Infusion sets for Medtronic Revel insulin pump- $151
Reservoirs for Medtronic Revel insulin pump – $38
2 vials of Humalog insulin – $359.40
200 Contour Next test strips for blood glucose monitoring – $205.98
Grand Total – $754.38
$754.38 per month. That’s $25 dollars a day. Let’s assume I don’t have a pump though. It is a ‘luxury’ item after all. This still leaves an uninsured insulin-dependent diabetic with a monthly bill of $556.38, for a medicine needed to stay alive and healthy.
We can do better….and it starts with awareness.