Tag Archives: diabetes and insurance

CGM Study and Why a CGM?

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

 

The CGM study that endocrinology offices do all over the country is a blind-to-the-patient, study.  I started yesterday.  I signed a form agreeing that if I broke or damaged the sensor I’d immediately pay $900 to replace it (striking me as a bit harsh considering accidents can happen).  Then the woman in charge of fixing me up, a dietitian, inserted the sensor and told me that I would not know what my graph looks like but they will.  She said they might call me if something needs to be changed.  She handed me papers to fill out.  I need to write down when I test and what my sugar is, when I eat and how many carbs I eat, how much insulin I take and detailed exercise info.  I hate writing down all this stuff-perhaps because I’ve been told to, but it won’t be too bad considering it’s only a three day study. 

I will return the sensor along with the paperwork on Thursday and in several weeks I meet with the doctor to go over the results.  I don’t know if my insurance will cover this yet.  I know they pre-approved the study so hopefully they will approve and cover my permanently using it.  Someone at the Diabetes Sisters Conference told me I needed to have two lows under 50 per day while on the study for insurances to justify covering the CGM.  I would rather go without it than have to lie to get it.  For reasons of justice and pride I will not lie.  However, I’ve already had two low readings in the 50’s and 60’s which I don’t consider problematic since I feel my lows at 60 and I am comfortably at home all day and can easily enough treat when needed.  If I was out I’d make sure I ran my numbers closer to 120 than 80.

I feel strange that someone might know what my blood sugars are right now and I don’t.  It’s an uncomfortable feeling and I look forward to experiencing the CGM along with the receiver (is that what it’s called?).  Of course, this is If some unknowing party decides I should have it.  (rolls eyes)

I cried earlier today reading a post at The Princess and the Pump written by a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes.  This young girl has a CGM and her parents heard the alarm in the middle of the night, testing their daughter and finding her dangerously low.  The little girl eventually had two low blood sugar induced seizures and ended up in the hospital.  The parents are wondering if a faulty pump cartridge is to blame.  The point is, the CGM saved this girl’s life.  And just because I haven’t experienced ever needing help from a low blood sugar doesn’t mean I won’t one day.  This story alone is enough motivation for me to want one if I can get access to it.  If it isn’t covered by insurance I cannot afford it.  So fingers crossed. 

For those non-diabetics reading out there I ask you this; If you had type 1 diabetes and a simple device could alert you to dangerously high or low blood sugars (both of which could quickly lead to death) would you want it?  If this was your child, would you want to know that a device was looking after their blood sugars while you and your child tried to do something normal like sleeping safely at night?  Do you think it sounds reasonable that diabetics out there ask for their insurance to help cover the costs of a potentially life-saving device?  I do.  I mean, death is permanent.  Technology like this can make all the difference. 

Here is the best explanation I’ve ever heard of why insulin isn’t a cure that I hope everyone will take a minute to read:  Not Even Close

Can you afford to be diabetic?

 

I’m not talking about health here.  I’m talking about money.  Some days I can definitely afford being a diabetic and some days…I linger on about how the money I spend towards my diabetes could be spent instead on a luxury vehicle.

As diabetics, what are we paying for exactly?

Well first of all the absolutely necessary items like insulin, syringes or insulin pump and supplies, a meter, strips, lancets, and medications.

Then there are doctor visits even when we are healthy to get our teeth checked, eyes examined, and blood drawn and tested.

There might be optional but, very helpful things like a CGMS and the supplies it uses.  As well as carrying cases or pouches, ice packs or Frio pouches to protect our sacred stuff. 

Then (no the list isn’t done yet!) we have to constantly be supplying ourselves with a fast acting sugar, be it glucose tablets (not cheap) juice, candy, or whatever you can quickly get your hands on as you panicky sprint into the gas station looking to get a handle on your sugar.

These are all costs incurred should nothing go wrong.  God forbid something does because I don’t know about you but, a quick trip to the hospital in an ambulance is an instant $200 for me and that’s before any doctors get their juicy cut.

So by the time this is all tallied up and assuming someone is blessed enough to have decent health insurance, we have gone into the thousands of dollars. 

Most people in the United States make a modest amount of money.  They make enough to cover their diabetes needs but, only if they give something up.  This often feels heartbreaking.

I used to feel that it was so unfair how I had to give up summer vacations because I was paying for my diabetes stuff.  Before being an adult my parents paid for everything.  Suddenly I realized how much they had been paying and I felt like a burden.  I felt like the man I married one day might see me as a burden as well.  It was easy to feel down in the dumps-to say the least.

Then I got a little older and I suppose its true what they say-a little wiser, too.

I began thinking about how lucky I was to have insulin and all of the technologies available to me.  What about diabetics 50 years ago?  How the heck did they do it?

I also began thinking about how lucky I was to even have that extra bit of money to pay for my diabetes stuff.  What about all of those Americans and fellow worldly citizens without money for insulin?  That began feeling like the real tragedy.

So my reminder to you is that if you are blessed enough to be able to give up something extra and use it on your health then don’t feel so glum.  Feel grateful.  Don’t stop there though.  Use this as motivation to live the best life you can.  Remember those new heels will only make you happy for a few hours.  Good health and joy from all of the little things around you will definitely last much longer.

Put your diabetes first and when you pay for your prescriptions, hey just do what I do-

try not to look at the bill.

Have a great one!

Sysy

Diabetes catch 22: Working just for insurance

      Having diabetes can often be the same as being pushed into a corner with no good way out. 

It can be harder for a diabetic to work because of health complications and challenges and yet if you don’t work, you don’t have insurance.

I cried and cried over this years ago because the reality of it caught me off guard.  I graduated high school and in a sickly state, began college.  As a result I didn’t do well during my first 2 years at college and next thing I knew I was dropped from my parents insurance policy.  All I knew to do was find a job in order to have insurance.  After a year I found I couldn’t work full time and do school (still sick at this point) so my college opportunity was postponed. 

Next thing I knew I couldn’t follow my dream career path because I was busy working a job that made me even more sick (because I hated it) and therefore was unable to leave it since I relied on it’s insurance for safety. 

This cycle is extremely frustrating.  Currently I’m under my husband’s insurance and I work from home (while taking care of twin babies).  Now that my health has been regained, I am busy writing a book to keep me out of the danger zone.  What if my husband were to lose his job? 

So the message here is don’t settle or waste time in despair.  Work on your health and work on your passions.  You need your health and you need to not sit on your laurels just wishing life would be easier for us, diabetics.  Make your situation better for yourself. 

Begin today.  And if its tomorrow and you didn’t begin yesterday, begin today!