Thursday, May 14, 2015

#DBlogWeek Day 4 - Changes

Welcome to the Sixth Annual Diabetes Blog Week!  This is my first year participating as I've just started my DBlog.  Karen at Bitter~Sweet deserves all the credit for getting the wonderful week up and running and keeping it going for six years!

Today's Topic:  Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?

What would I like to see change about diabetes?
There are several things but number one is the cost of care.
What do diabetics spend on keeping themselves alive?  We don't have a choice.  If we don't take our medication(s), if we don't check our blood sugars, and if we don't visit our doctors we have a life or death situation on our hands.
As an example, let's take look at my approximate cost for healthcare as a Type 1 diabetic (all prices as of January, 2015).  My insurance is a high deductible plan.  I have to pay the first $5,000 for my health care costs.  Once that is met, I still have to cover a co-pay for prescriptions but all other costs (expect the insurance premium) are covered.

Health insurance premium = $196 per month (for a total of $2,352 per year)

Four visits a year to the CDE or Endocrinologist = $163.50 per visit

One month's supply (three bottles) of Novolog insulin = $630.53

One month's supply (200) of One Touch test strips = $245.76

One month's supply of Animas Ping cartridges and Contact Detach infusion sets = $125.20

Other miscellaneous items such as lancets (yes, I do change mine somewhat regularly!!), alcohol swabs, and tapes (I like IV3000) for my infusion set.

And new to me starting in a few days:

A Dexcom "startup kit" = $1,400 (a one-time cost this year)
One month's supply (four) of Dexcom sensors (but, we'll see how long I can get them to last) = $308
Once I've met my deductible, my scripts drop to $50 for the insulin and $25 for the test strips (per month).

I have a Health Savings Account (HSA) which I use to pay the costs of the deductible with pre-tax dollars.  That helps but the money still comes out of my paycheck.
Everyone's costs are different but we all pay what I consider way too much for our health care life.  We don't have a choice.

While I'm surely complaining here, I DO consider myself lucky to have decent insurance that allows me to use any doctor and pharmacy I want.  They do require my pump and Dexcom supplies come from certain providers but that's OK (as long as I get the stuff when I need it).  What if I didn't have coverage?  What if my wage couldn't cover my deductible (and any costs beyond)?  My heart goes out to all that struggle to stay alive.

I'm positive that these companies don't have our best interests at heart.  They certainly aren't going to suddenly deeply discount their products.
How do we get this to change?  I'm not sure.  I've never been involved in any sort of advocacy but this may be my pain point.  I'll have to search to see if there is anything I can get involved in to help our voices be heard.
At this moment I'll just bitch about it and pray that someday everyone can afford to get the medications, care, and supplies they need.

Read other posts about this topic here.


  1. Yes, it is so expensive! I would love to see it more affordable as well, especially the CGM!

  2. Holy crap, that's a lot of dough. I'm glad you have some insurance. I will refrain from ranting about how much I hate insurance companies, despite the fact that they made living with a chronic illness more "affordable". Hugs

  3. Mostly we need insurance companies to understand if they cover things that keep us healthy, the expensive things like hospitalizations, etc. will be reduced and they will save money.

  4. You're absolutely right. This is so true and not only for those with diabetes. This has to change.

  5. Great points everyone!! And I hate insurance companies too Kate!

  6. I agree that these costs are way out of line! I spent about a year with no insurance before Obamacare, and found some ways to save when I was paying out of pocket. I used Relion test strips from Walmart, which actually worked as well as the One Touch and other name brands, though a simple meter, it was fine. And I ordered my insulin from Canadian pharmacies for about 1/3 the price of US pharmacies! Same product, legal to order with a prescription, but saved me a lot of money.
    Perhaps you need to reach your deductible so the costs are worth paying for you, but if not, these things helped me. Plus, friend with great coverage gave me extras, which I was very grateful for.
    Please step into that advocacy role if you're ready - we need more diabetes advocates of all kinds!! Thanks.

  7. Liz, I love this post. We need and deserve the proper tools to live the best lives we can with diabetes. And we need them to be affordable. Thanks!