Insurance Dependent: The financial reality of living with Diabetes

Universal healthcare would solve so many problems, wouldn't it? I mean, seriously. We would be a healthier country, save more lives, be happier people and we would be able to do what we wanted without being in desperate need for insurance coverage and paying away our security.

You don't know what it's like to be absolutely freaking frantic when you realize you have no insurance as a diabetic, unless you've been a diabetic without insurance. Seriously, though. It is the most gut-wrenching feeling that I can't even begin to explain.

Ay veces que uno piensa, "Qué haré sin seguranza de salud? Cómo vamos a pagar por todo lo que necesito?" Y la realidad es que no se puede pagar por todas las necesidades, sin tener un trabajo solamente para pagar por la medicina y lo de más. Con lo que sigue, les digo de todas las cosas que uso y van a ver cuanto me cuestará para tener diabetes sin seguranza por el año.  

The other day, due to an employer mishap, I was left without insurance. No joke. I went to the pharmacy to pick up testing strips (you know how necessary those are) and they told me that my insurance wasn't going through. Just to put this into a bit of perspective: glucose machines that test your blood sugar run from about $20 to $70. But guess how much the strips are for those? About $125 a box. Yup. If you don't believe me, go to your local pharmacy and check it out yourself. I did, because I thought, what happens if I'm really left without insurance?

El viernes cuando me di cuenta que fue culpa de mi trabajo que no tenía seguranza en el momento que lo necesitaba ya parada en la farmacia (averigüe el lunes que no pagaron la factura por el mes), me enoje muchísimo y pensé, ay va mi salud. No voy a poder ir a ver mi doctora, ni usar todas las extras que necesito para la pompa de insulina que tengo. Tendré que regresar a usar las inyecciones. Luego pensé en cuanto me irá costar para pagar del bolso. Solamente estaba pagando $20 por la insulina con la seguranza.

So I did what any other person would (I think). I thought about how I was going to be able to afford everything. I'm on the pump now and it was covered by my insurance. The only thing I was paying for were my testing strips and a month supply was costing me $20. That's it.

So, let's do the math on the cost of me having diabetes for just one year.

Each box of the infusion sets that I use cost $134 and that's for 10.

The little tube that holds the insulin inside the pump is $37 for 10.

A box of the sensors that I use for my continuous glucose monitoring system costs $430 for 10.

Then there are strips. Each month I get three boxes and let's just estimate $50 a box, or $150. For the year, that's another $1,800.

Then there's insulin: $65 a bottle, three a month = $2,340 a year.

In total, I would be spending....*drumroll, please*... $11,352 a year!!! 

I'm getting dizzy.

I said to myself, "All right, you're going to have to go to the clinics then." Yes, but that means I would have to go back to shots. And visiting the doctor? Say goodbye to my endocrinologist at the hospital. I'd have to go back to seeing the regular M.D.s at the clinic.

Para regresar a la clinica, tendría que despedirme de mi endocrinóloga en el hospital. No me lo podía imaginar. Con enojarme tanto, lloré y mande correos electrónicos para buscar ayuda y si lo encontre. 

I couldn't imagine it. I really couldn't. The chaos that then ensued incorporated anger, tears and emails asking for help. To say the least, I was able to obtain testing strips by guardian angels to hold me over. Because of my employer's mishap, they are reinstating the insurance policy, which I'm thrilled about but also hesitant to get my hopes up over. I mean, will this happen again? I'm afraid that it might at a most crucial point, like going to see the doctor or something like that.

Reintegraron la seguranza, gracias a Dios, pero parsará otra vez? 

Then I thought, holy crapola! There are so many people without insurance coverage. It reminded me of a woman I had hear of who spliced her testing strips to use one strip twice! She couldn't afford to buy strips as she needed them, so she had to cut them in half.

What is our world coming to? Especialmente para nuestra comunidad latina que sufre mucho de esto. Si no tienen seguranza, que van hacer? Sufrir más por la necesidad en vez de tratar de ayudar a si mismo?

I believe that if we had the resources to take care of ourselves, we would be a much happier group of people.

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