Monday, July 12, 2010

The Cost Of It All . . .

1) Vet Wrap - we use this to secure Nate's OmniPod around his arm so that it doesn't get knocked off.  $2.00 per roll.

2) FreeStyle Flash Meter - you can never have too many meters around the house!  Usually can get these free because the companies that make them make their money off of the test strips not the meters.

3) Glucagon (kit) Glucagon is used to treat insulin coma or insulin reaction resulting from severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Glucagon is used in emergency situations when the patient is unconscious. Within the glucagon kit is a vial of powdered glucagon and a syringe filled with liquid (diluent). The dose is prepared immediately before injection.  We have 1 in the kitchen, 1 with the D supplies and we have 1 with us in Nate's bag at all times. The cost for the 3 kits is approximately $255.00 - - - they expire after 1 year.

4) BD Ultra Fine Syringes for insulin injections.  I think these cost about $20 per box. 

5) OmniPod Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) - this is what we test Nate's blood sugar on and dose all of his insulin.  It control every aspect of Nate's insulin pump.  This is our back-up PDM in the rare case our current PDM malfunctions we have a back-up to keep us rolling.  Ehhhh . . . I really don't remember - - -I think this costs about $500 or $600.  Insurance paid 100% of Nate's OmniPod but they do not pay for an extra PDM.

6) Precision Xtra Blood Ketone Strips - we test Nate for ketones when his bg goes above 250, if he is sick or shows any sign of DKA.  These little strips are like buying gold - - - the cost is about $50.00 for a box of 10 and our insurance does not cover these.  The boxes that we do have were given to us by a very nice CDE at Children's Medical Center of Dallas. 

7) Accu-Check MultiClix Lancets - these are what we use to prick Nate's finger to draw blood for his bg checks.  $73.27 for a 3 month supply(we currently pay about $17).

8) OmniPod Pods - the Pod holds and delivers Nate's insulin it has adhesive so we can apply it almost anywhere on his body.  Obviously from all of my previous post - - - we prefer to apply it to his bum area.  We also use his arm, leg and back.  We change Nate's pod every 2-3 days. Each pod is $30 -- we order 5 boxes of 10 at a time and pray that they will last 3 months until the next shipment!!

9) FreeStyle Test Strips - these are the strips that go into the FreeStyle meter or the OmniPod PDM to test Nate's bg.  These little babies cost about $1 each.  We test Nate's bg anywhere from 10-14 times per day.  A 3-month supply costs $942.00 (we currently pay $300).

10) Alcohol Wipes - we keep plenty of these on hand to clean Nate's fingers before a bg check and also to clean the area where we will apply his pod during a site change. $2.00 per box.

11) Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil - we sometime use this to remove the adhesive from Nate's pods on site change days.  $5.00

12) Target Brand Rubbing Alcohol - also used to clean Nate's fingers and sites for pods. $2.50

13) Smith & Nephew Skin Prep Wipes -  we prefer to use these more than the alcohol wipes to clean the site for Nate's pod.  It has a little stick to it and helps the pod stay on better.  $12 for a box of 50.

14) Smith & Nephew Uni-Solve - we prefer to use this to help remove Nate's pods.  It helps remove the adhesive and loosen the pod before we  take it off.
15) 3m Tegaderm - sometimes used to place over Nate's pod to keep it firmly in place. $10 for a box of 50

16) Miscellaneous Diabetes Supplies are kept in this little 2 drawer cabinet.

17) Pacifier Carrier - I use this little case to keep Nate's insulin in when we travel.
18) NOT SHOWN - Nate's insulin.  We have insulin in the fridge and in his bag.  We must keep it with us at ALL TIMES.  Insulin keeps Nate alive.  It costs about $85 per vial.  We use 2 vials per month.

And I cannot forget out latest addition . . . DEXCOM!!!  (Not pictured above because I've been working on this post for what feels like forever and Dex just came on Friday)
Our insurance paid 100% but I believe the cost is $800 for the receiver & transmitter and $250 for a months supply of sensors (4 sensors).

and here is a picture of Nate wearing his new CGM (I did the insertion while he was sleeping)


Right now we are covered for most of the supplies listed above on a COBRA group plan through Jim's previous employer.  Our coverage will expire on 9/30/10.  Because Jim is self-employed we no longer qualify for a group plan so I've been calling around and trying to get our family covered on an individual plan.  Wow - the reality of having 2 chronically ill children while searching for insurance coverage is like a huge punch right in the gut.

The same company that currently covers our family under a group plan scoffed at the thought of covering my children under an individual plan.  In 3 short months my family will lose our insurance and the ability to keep our son alive and our daughter's disease comfortably under control.

We do have a few options -

The Texas High Risk pool is available for our children at the cost of approximately $450 per child per month.

CHIP - Children's Medicaid is available if we qualify.  So, basically if we stop working our kids will be covered at a lower rate through Medicaid.

ObamaCare  or Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) - we are still waiting to find out more details but the cost is supposed to be 1/2 the cost of the TX high risk pool insurance. Unfortunately, everything I have read says that you must be uninsured for 6 months before you can qualify.  Huh?  Why? 

I will continue to document our journey on finding affordable health care coverage for our children.  It is a frustrating process but I am up to the challenge!!


Oh Hell. That's just really..... Sucky? Not cool? Not fair? Something inappropriate to write? All of the above.
I'm sorry, Laura. I'll be praying....
Love the visual of this post. Been thinking of doing a similar one for awhile!


Wow! Good luck finding insurance! I will pray for your family. If you need any D supplies once your insurance is out, let us know!

Lora said...

Oh No Laura. I am so sorry to hear that. As if you need anything else to worry about. Keep your faith and stock up as much as you can. Call and tell them you dropped a bottle of insulin and you need to order early... hey, why not?

It will all work out. {{{HUGS}}} my friend!

Heather said...

I'm so sorry Laura. Like you needed one more thing on your plate right now! I will be praying for you. ((hugs))

Pam said...

Like worrying about diabetes isn't enough. Stay positive.

Unknown said... have a lot on your plate in addition to the two children with chronic health needs. (((HUGS))) and I am looking forward to following this part of your journey Laura. I frequently wonder how we would even begin to cover Joe's care if we didn't have such wonderful insurance coverage.

Penny said...

Wow. I understand Laura. My kiddos were without insurance for 6 months about 3 years ago, because hubby was between jobs and we couldn't afford $1200 a month COBRA for a family of 5. I prayed harder during those 6 months that no one fell sick. It's a sorry state of affairs, health insurance in the USA.
I would check out your state's CHIP program. Most often, kids under 18 are automatically covered when you lose COBRA, there is no 6 month wait for kids. There is an exclusion that says so I believe.
If you need anything at all- supplies, whatever, you just let me know and I will ship what I have down to you honey. Honest, you just let me know. Hang in there and keep us posted. You are a strong woman and can do it. The kids are so lucky to have you care for them so very well. Hugs.

phonelady said...

I so know your pain and yeah I m also without insurance until september and then may still be so . We have to wait and see what the insurance plan will be through his work . It sucks when you have to pay for it all out of pocket or you cannot afford something and ask the pharmacist to put it back cause you cant get it no more money . I so know the feeling . I will pray for you and your family dear . Yes health insurance in this country is disgusting at best .

Laura, I can SO relate. My husband is self-employed, too, and our COBRA coverage ended shortly after Jack was diagnosed. We had a horrible time finding a policy that was actually affordable. The medical underwriting always got us, because of Jack's diabetes. We finally found one through the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA). Is there such a group in Texas? We weren't previously members, but we heard about their group health plan, and so we joined. Or is there some other type of professional association that you and/or Jim could join? Often these organizations have group health plans, which are much more affordable than individual health insurance policies.

I should add that the policy that we have through ASBA is not cheap and it covers a fraction of what our old policy covered. It's basically a major medical plan with a high deductible ($5,000). So we pay out of pocket for everything (all D supplies, all doctors' visits, all diagnostic tests, xrays/scans, blood work, etc.) until we meet our deductible, which stinks. And our monthly premium is expensive, too. However, it was the least costly plan we could find. My husband actually owns an insurance agency, and his partner is a health insurance specialist. Together they researched and researched, and this policy was it for us. It's better than any alternatives, and there was no medical underwriting because it was a group plan. As expensive as it is, we're grateful to have it.

Perhaps there's something like this out there for you?

Just an idea... Hope it helps! I know you're in a tough situation right now! I truly get it.

Tracy1918 said...

Oh my word. I will keep you in my prayers. For everything to work out with insurance and for you to have peace of mind going through the process.

It's just not fair that you have to deal with these issues on top of chronic illnesses.

I'm so sorry...

I hope everything works out with your insurance. Have you contacted the assistance programs at all of the companies you use?

I saw that you use alcohol swabs before finger checks. We were told by multiple sources to stop doing that (even though that's what we were trained in the hospital) because it can really dry out their fingers and make testing more painful. Also, I have heard, but can't verify, that alcohol can skew the results. Who knows.

We use good old fashioned soap and water now.

Meri said...

I was so angry last night after reading this post, I couldn't comment. Now...I'm still angry. It isn't right to pick and choose who'll you cover. I think finding an organization to attach yourselves to is a great idea. Even some lodges might offer health insurance. Good luck Laura, you have me and all of your friends, praying for your family. Always.

Shannon said...

Laura I have to tell you I am awe of you being able to write this out. I am currently going through a similar situation as my husband lost his job in June and the COBRA option for us is almost $2000 a month. It hasnt kicked in yet so we are paying full price for all our supplies right now which is so heartbreaking. He is working 3 jobs right now so we dont go behind on our bills and to find out that the COBRA was so pricy was a punch in the gut. We were told we would qualify for the govt assistance on Cobra but he was let go 1 month to late. I have been all over the phone and such with company after company and because Joshua is both under 3 and uses diluted insulin we can't get assistance from the maker. With my husband working 3 jobs we are over the cap for our state FAMIS plan to get the boys insured. Both my husband and Joshua are type 1 and require these expenses to. I am outraged at the lack of programs avaiable to people who are not "working the system" but working for their bills. After our Cobra paymnet we dont have money to pay our house or other bills due to the copays we have to pay out. We should have our insurance back in October so there is a light at the end of the tunnel for us but as you know the bills will compond on each other until then and we will be paying this off for years.
I AM SO SORRY your family is suffering through this if you ever need someone to vent to I am here, struggling right beside. You have been such a strong insperation for me during our last 6 months as Nate's story is so close to when Joshua was DX if there is anything I can do I will. My mom has a ton of the strips you use I think... send me a private email with the ones you use and Ill see what I can do to get you some of those. also what size needle do you use? I was given a ton and they arent the size Joshua uses.

Misty said...

Laura, I am so sorry that you are going through this right now. It's just not fair for you to have so much on your shoulders. I will be praying for you and your family. ((HUGS))

Sara said...

I want you to know that you and yours are in my thoughts. I hope that one day very soon this challenging journey you are on finds a peaceful resting place. Please know that you will also be on mind my on every time I cast my vote. The way to see real change is by being mindful of every election...every Senator every Governor. I hope that one day enough of us will work towards affordable health care for the sake of all of the children and families out there struggling financially to....literally... survive.

Kirsten said...

Hi Laura. I'm so sorry to hear about your insurance fight. Insurance companies are agents of Satan as far as I'm concerned. People & companies who make gobs of money on the backs of other peoples' illnesses are evil. I've had to put so many of my life's dreams on hold b/c I needed good insurance & couldn't risk being without. There is a company called American Diabetes Wholesale that seems to have pretty deep discounts on diabetes supplies. I'm not sure how they handle test strips & insulin, but they sure seem cheaper!

Otherwise, I can't offer anything other than encouragement right now.

Actually, there is going to be a vote in Congress this Thursday on whether or not to increase funding for diabetes research. I got an email from the ADA today encouraging me to write to my Senator asking her to vote in favor of increased funding. It probably won't do any good, given the ridiculous political climate these days, but at least I made a small effort. I'll send you the email separately in case you'd like to vent to a heartless politician.

We're considering moving out of country to a place that will provide decent healthcare without punishing me. If you like, I can look for some properties for you too.... ;-)

I am all over your blog, and I am so relating to you its unreal.

We have no coverage at all, and pay cash for all of ours sons medical needs (type 1).

Its criminal how expensive these things are, and how impossible they make it for us to get help!

Hey, Laura. I'm way behind on reading blogs after our travels, and just got to yours. My MIL looked into the Obama plan and said the 6-month wait was only for adults (she's T2 and lost her COBRA coverage last month). It might be worth double-checking for the kids...

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Just a Mom

I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog.

I AM a wife.
I AM the mom of 3 wonderful children.
I AM my son's pancreas.

The information provided on this blog is from our personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes. Because something works for us does not mean it will work for you.

Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health care options.

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