DBlogWeek 2017: The Cost of Chronic Illness.
Diabetes Blog Week prompt for Tuesday: 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?
Aaaaaaarrgggghhhhhh this post has me writing and erasing sentences left and right. I’m not even sure where to start. This whole topic frustrates me. Best to jump right in:
I remember, when I was small and under my parents’ care, my parents had to battle with their insurance company to cover more than four blood glucose test strips per day for me. Since becoming an adult, I’ve had good insurance where my deductible was $300, out of pocket max was $500, and all of my supplies were covered at 100% so long as I was “in network.” I’ve had crappy insurance where my deductible was $5000, no out of pocket max, and my pump supplies were covered 80/20. (Those two years were the most I’ve ever spent on care in my life.) I’ve never been without insurance because I was raised fearing a lapse in coverage. When I graduated college, I had a job that started three days later so that I wouldn’t have a coverage gap. I remember when Chris and I were first married, we struggled to find an insurance policy to cover the two of us in a way that we could afford while also providing decent coverage for my persistent medical needs.
Living without insurance coverage was always presented as a “DO NOT,” but as the years have gone on and greed, corruption, and the breakdown of the healthcare (wealthcare) system became dominant over caring for patients, I’ve seen how being insured can still break your finances apart. Families struggle to make medical ends meet and oftentimes can’t, making awful decisions – if you can even call them that – between paying rent and buying medication.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. But what the fuck, Pharma … why are you always raising prices on essential drugs? Because you know we’re trapped? Why did insulin cost like $45 per bottle when I was diagnosed but is now upwards of $280? I can only understand so much R&D because after a while, it starts to read like GREED.
Reading articles like these give me such rage (with a side of panic):
And I see a dozen different advocacy groups working towards the same goals – improving access for people with diabetes – but they aren’t always working together, which is infuriating to watch. (Also, Melissa Lee wrote a great note on Facebook about the word “access” – read here.) I do not know the behind-the-scenes details of which org is talking to who and what funds what and who has opinions on what sort of things, mostly because I’ve been out of the loop for the better part of a year (something about an infant invading my home), but looking at the community from 10,000 feet, there are a lot of dots. And they could use some connecting. And to be totally honest, I have no idea how that will happen.
Check out these orgs/efforts/opportunities and see if anything leaps out at you.
The 5Calls.org website is always awesome for policy action (not just healthcare)
Because here’s the thing: our community is divided by a dozen different things but we are UNITED by our common circumstance: diabetes. By uniting and raising our voices with compassion and conviction, we can make the difference and become the change our community deserves. The cost of chronic illness is staggering, but the price of staying silent will make matters worse.
… and how great is Diabetes Blog Week, serving as the opportunity you may have been waiting for to get loud.