What Obamacare Feels Like to a Diabetic


Others have written much about what the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, means for diabetics. I will leave the analysis to the people who have done the research. I just want to tell you what Obamacare feels like to a diabetic.

First, some background on my current healthcare status: I have been with the same HMO, Kaiser, since before I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of nine. I have therefore felt married to Kaiser; in Kaiser’s eyes, I do not have a pre-existing condition, whereas switching health insurance companies might expose me to being labeled with the big scarlet D for diabetic. Kaiser is pretty good as a health provider so long as you can find good doctors, and I am lucky enough to have lived in big cities with big hospitals where I have lots of choice. I am also lucky enough to have wanted to stay in California all this time, and to have a husband who is very good at talking his way through pharmacies and bureaucracies when I am busy weeping with frustration that they won’t give me the medication I have been prescribed. (That’s a story for another time, though.) All that said, Kaiser raises its rates by 10 – 15% every year, and I don’t like the feeling that if I wanted to change, or needed to move to the East Coast, I would be in a very precarious position.

So on October 1st, I went to my state’s ACA exchange, CoveredCA. I was mostly curious, and wanted to see what the plans and rates would be; even if I want to change my healthcare, I intend to give this whole Obamacare thing a few months to make sure Congress doesn’t knife it in the back right after I make a switch.

But, noncommittal as I was, I was floored by what I saw. I filled out the simple questionnaire on the website to see my options. They asked me about my age, my income, my family size. And that was it. No medical history. No “Do you have diabetes?” No “Are you more likely than average to get kidney disease and retinal disease and neuropathy?” No “Do you cost a fortune because of all the medication you need?” No “Have you already had cataract surgery because of this stupid disease?” Age, income, family size, and then I was presented with options. The same options my healthy-young-male husband sees. The same options every late-twenty-something sees.

It’s an amazing feeling. After almost two decades of feeling tied to a single option– an option I like and am extremely grateful for, but still a single option — I felt liberated. Even now, I get chills just thinking about that feeling of, “Hey, you’re just one of us now.” It’s incredible. It’s profoundly American, to feel like I have choices and the freedom to move.

Even if you don’t intend on changing insurance providers, try it. Go to Healthcare.gov and find your state’s exchange. Fill out the minimal necessary information, and watch in wonder as they present you your options, blind to the secret truth that you have diabetes.

Death and taxes may be all that we are guaranteed, and you could argue back and forth about whether healthcare is a national right, but you’ll have to excuse me while I sit here and enjoy this intoxicating sense of liberty I’ve just been given.

Obamacare. Rock on — please!


Update, 2013-10-22: If you or anyone you know is uninsured or shopping for new coverage, check out the American Diabetes Association’s Q&A document The Health Insurance Marketplace and People with Diabetes, and then visit www.healthcare.gov to find your state’s Marketplace. For information on changes to health insurance rules that impact people with diabetes, including both changes that are already in effect and some starting on the first day of next year, check out the American Diabetes Association’s “Health Insurance Update: Protections for People with Diabetes” document.

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52 Comments on "What Obamacare Feels Like to a Diabetic"

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to Lynn Evans. No the ACA is NOT fabulous, especially for diabetics. Because of state law, my insurance had to cover diabetics, WAY before Obamacare, and it’s claim no one with a pre existing condition could get coverage, is BS. First off, now if I don’t or can’t enroll in 60 days, I have no chance to get insurance at all until the next year, thanks to this open enrollment crap in Obamacare. The cheapest insurance I could find, that would provide similair coverage under Obamacare, was not any cheaper premium wise, and the deductible was almost 6 times as… Read more »
John Doman

This is what Obamacare feels like for THIS diabetic: $295 for a 90-month supply of Novalog. 
And I have good health insurance…  


And by the way, those prices at the ACA site only apply if your employers offers no insurance plan whatsoever. Something not mentioned there. So don’t be fooled. In fact, if your employer offers a plan, you are almost sure to be rejected if you apply for Obamacare. We have all tried at my job already. Nobody was accepted.

I was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes at the age of 10. 24 years later my company has switched healthcare due to the effects of Obamacare. I had no deductible, $28/week premium, low copays, and ALL preventive care and meds 100% free, delivered right to my door, including insulin, testing supplies, syringes,blood pressure and cholesterol meds, with no limits. I now have $3000 deductible with no copays. Meaning I pay 100% until the deductible is paid, on visits, RX’s and anything else. After that I pay 20% on “approved care” (which is very limited). The network is tiny, and even… Read more »
Type 1 Diabetic 48+ years; live in GA; had health insurance coverage through SHBP United Health Care great plan; now being made to switch to HRA BCBSGa due to our incompetent President. Because of Obama’s lame brain ACA I will now be paying more for all of my Diabetic supplies, & health care costs. My current Endocrinologist is not & does not participate in the HRA & new Doctor in network just charged me $4,410 for one visit against my new Obama-I don’t Care plan. I’m paying more for premiums (with less coverage) & a lot more out of pocket… Read more »
Sander Loones
Hi, I live in Belgium and I’am Diabetic type 1. We have universal healthcare, and I pay $0 for my treatment(doctors, insulin, monitors, ..). My treatment is of high quality and I have a chance to participate with the newest technologies. A year a go my girlfriend was diagnosed with cancer, her treatment was nearly free and again of high quality. The cost of our healthcare system is per person less than people spend in the USA in average. Before someone points out we have a debt crisis in Europe, we still have relatively less debt than the USA.  For… Read more »
fred smith

Cant say that i agree with how great your obamacare is. I’m 52 been a diabetic since i was 16. Have a full time job.  We just got our new insurance packages. Because of obamacare my rates went up by 20% and my copays went up to $50. The cost of my strips has doubled in the last 6 months. Thanks alot obama. Looks like the working people are paying for the people who are not working or dont want to work.

fred smith

Cant say that i agree with how great your obamacare is. I’m 52 been a diabetic since i was 16. Have a full time job.  We just got our new insurance packages. Because of obamacare my rates went up by 20% and my copays went up to $50. The cost of my strips has doubled in the last 6 months. Thanks alot obama. Looks like the worker people are paying for the people who are not working or dont want to work.

Susan Broughton
I have been watching this ObamaCare as they call it. very closely.  I was injured a few years back and because of that I lost my great dependable job I had had for years.  Being a diabetic I still wasn’t worried because my husband had a great job with security of over 30 years.  Then the bottom dropped out and he lost his job last year too.  Now no healthcare.  So I go hunting for insurance.  surely I have been paying in to my insurance for years it will be fine….but no I was denied because of the diabetes.  So… Read more »
j-live fan

Leah, insulin is around $25 a bottle at Wal-Mart (half the price at the drug store). No prescription needed for N or R. I don’t know if that helps you or not, probably not, but just in case….

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