Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday-The Cost of a Chronic Illness

Insulin and other diabetes medications and supplies can be costly. Here in the US, insurance status and age (as in Medicare eligibility) can impact both the cost and coverage. So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care. Do you have advice to share? For those outside the US, is cost a concern? Are there other factors such as accessibility or education that cause barriers to your diabetes care?

I remember when I got married back in 1981. I had been covered by my parents health insurance since my diagnosis in 1965. Then add to that my grandfather, then uncle owned a Drug Store, so I got all my insulin, alcohol, cotton balls, syringes and needles, keto diastix, remember back then WE had no meters to test our blood sugar at home. Or I wasn't allowed one if my parents knew about them. Any way, I got all my supplies at cost, which meant, I got all my supplies for what my grandfather or uncle paid the supplier.

Then I get married. I had to go (note after talking with my husband, he reminded me) SIX months without any insurance coverage. None at all. I hadn't seen my endo since I was 12 or 13, so finding one in my new state and city, wasn't something I planned on doing. I knew I'd have to get a doctor, but I figured I'd wait until I needed one. Back then, a prescription wasn't required for insulin. I had brought several bottles with me, but not enough to last the three months.

That was a little difficult. Being a newly wed, in a new city, a city larger than the one I grew up in. Living in an apartment. Living with someone whose only knowledge about juvenile onset/type 1 diabetes was coming from me. His grandmother had had type 2 diabetes, but I had to keep telling him they weren't the same disease.

I never had any problems in school because of my being a diabetic. When I was in elementary school, the cooks stuck to the diet the dietitian had given my parents. They also gave me the diabetic canned fruits, cakes (made from boxes) and boxed cookies (DISGUSTING).

All the kids thought I was getting special treatment and wanted to eat my special cakes, cookies or fruits. Of course I'd let them. After a while, most of them stopped asking to trade. Every so often one of them would forget and everyone would try to convince them how bad it was. I never said anything because I didn't like that stuff any more than my classmates did.

Everyone in my hometown knew about the girl who was a diabetic. So all my teachers knew about me. I carried life savers in my purse. The nurse in the middle school and high school, told me she had oj. I told her that wouldn't be enough to get me out of an insulin reaction, that is what I called and still do refer to a low blood sugar. She asked me what would work best. I told her some honey, then something to make a sandwich. So she got a jug of honey and had a small loaf of bread, butter and cheese in the nurses refrigerator. I was showed how to get into both of the offices in case she wasn't there. There was only one time in my 8 years of going to the middle and high schools that I had to get the honey and have a sandwich.

For me the biggest problem I have in getting my pump supplies is where my endos office wants me to order my infusion sets. The place is associated with the University of Michigan and in my, not so humble opinion, it SUCKS. They can't seem to get my order right. Next year I don't plan to use them. Thankfully I've never used them to get the Dexcom things.

Last but not least, most of you will not like this. But health insurance is not a right, but a privilege. You are not owed it. You have to pay for it. Even people with jobs do. I do not believe in the government giving away anything, but it's never free. Someone has to pay for it, it's never free.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Thank you for the walk down memory lane! I was diagnosed more than a decade after you, but I still relate to a most of that....

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