Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Money, money, money


Something that most of us don't have a lot of. Some are more blessed than others. This is true. But, when it comes to living with diabetes, money can be a serious issue. As most of us know, having money is important when it comes to living with diabetes (or any chronic illness, I would venture to guess). If you don't have money, you need fantastic health insurance.

In the past I've talked about my thankfulness for my job. I don't enjoy it as much as I'd like. But I'm thankful for it. It pays well enough, I suppose. But the main reason that I have stuck with this job for the past (nearly) five years is because of the fantastic health insurance that my job offers.

I had no fight on my CGMS. They approved my insulin pump with no problems. And for the past two years, all my diabetic supplies (minus the pump supplies, which are considered durable medical equipment) were free. Free test strips. Free insulin. Free glucagon.

But, the economy is hitting everyone and everything. People are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and save money. And it's hit my job. In an effort to save money my job is "changing" their insurance coverage.

In July, we got a new prescription plan. Since I order my supplies every 3 months, I hadn't had to get anything since this change. But while visiting my endo a few weeks ago I got a new prescription for a glucagon kit. Mine has officially expired and I knew I needed to get a new one. In 24.5 years, I've never, ever had to actually use a glucagon kit. In fact, until a couple of years ago I hadn't had one since I was a kid.

I currently carry one in my "emergency kit" I carry in my purse. I have at least 2 co-workers who know how to use it, so I felt safe having it there. Also, my current roommate knows where its kept and how to use it.

When I went to the drug store the other day, I handed them my prescription. I asked them to run it through so I could find out the cost. I had a sneaking suspicion it wouldn't be free.

It wasn't.

It was $75.

And I told them to keep it. I haven't had to use one in over 24 years, and I don't have $75 to basically throw away (after all, the past 3 I've had have expired without ever being used).


Non-preferred drug.

Please tell me, Mr. Insurance Company, how is a kit that could potentially save my life be "non-preferred"? And it's not like they have a generic version. I'd gladly take generic.

And, out of pure curiosity, I called a friend who works in a drug store to have them look up the cost if I had NO insurance. I didn't get an exact number...but I was told I was saving over half. Which means that without insurance, this little life saving pen would be over $150.

Oh, Mr. Drug Company....how is it that you can charge that much for something that might save a life? How is it fair?

As for the other changes in my insurance....we'll find out come January. I'm only hoping that the changes aren't so severe that it turns me into a pauper.


Scott S said...

Cara, would your insurance company have covered Novo Nordisk's Glyca-Gen (another brand of glucagon)? I wonder if that mat may have been covered for a lower cost? Something to look into. There is more than one brand of glucagon, and you should have one ... just in case!

Karen said...

Oh gosh, that really sucks!!! I hate that the kits are so expensive, because they really can save our lives. I hope the brand Scott suggested is more affordable - I had no idea there was more than one brand.

sysy morales said...

So frustrating isn't it?! I'd like to tell you "pay for that glucagon!" but...I don't pay for mine! I can barely afford insulin-which is a priority (ha! to say the least...). So what do we do? Sigh....things are tough girl hang in there!

Kari said...

Lurker here :)

I have had Type 1 for over 18 years, and my endo recently told me that since I've never needed glucagon in my life, it's unlikely I ever will, unless I begin to develop hypoglycemic unawareness. He didn't want to renew my prescription for it....so I don't have one either.

Cara said...

Hello Lurker-Kari. :P I did have some hypoglycemic unawareness. When I got my CGMS, it cut it waaaayyyy down. I almost always feel my lows now. I'll have to ask my endo about that though.
Scott, I didn't realize that there were different brands of glucagon. I am going to check into it. Thanks for the tip.
Karen, I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who didn't know there was more than one kind of glucagon.
Sysy, I really am lucky to have the great insurance coverage I have, but I've been spoiled. And I don't get paid a whole lot anyway. So I understand. My pump supplies take most a lot of my money. And we'll see how the insulin and strips go when January rolls around. :/