Animas, Medicare, Tandem - Oh My!

#1

ope everyone is well this Spring Day.

Ever heard the saying, “(wo)Man plans and god laughs?” Got that right!

So I’ve been on the Animas Ping since I started pumping in 2011. When they made their announcement about going out of the pump business I considered going right onto the Medtronic but the very day I was doing my research it was announced that Medicare was approving the G6. Since I had recently started the G5 I would be able to upgrade and then could pair it with the Tandem to achieve the much coveted goal of an AP. Medicare has not approved the Medtronic 670. Those of you not yet at Medicare age may not realize that even if you have great “regular” insurance as I do, Medicare has the final say in what will and don’t be covered. And Medicare is the Mussolini of the insurance world.

I talked to Tandem late last year I think and and since my current pump warranty doesn’t expire until March 2020 I might have to wait until then to get the T-Slim. However, they thought there was a good chance Animas would call it quits for good in September 2019 and void all warranties at which time I could get the Tandem. No worries, I thought. Dexcom was dragging its feet on releasing the G6 to Medicare patients and so I would be able to get used to a CGM altogether with the G5, then get used to the G6 and then move on to the integrated system. I prefer my learning curves one at a time.

When the recent letter arrived offering $750 for returned pumps with a deadline of 9/30 I thought, “Cool!” I will get some extra cash (to go to my SE Asia trip this Christmas!), and then get my T-Slim in September! Right? Wrong!

It turns out Medicare is refusing to let us have a new pump sooner than 5 years so even though my warranty will be voided and I will have no pump, I still have to wait??? Yikes! Tandem is, apparently offering “temporary warranties” for people in this situation for a charge of $1,000 which just pissed me off as they are looking to make money on our hardship! A call to an actual Supervisor revealed that this offer doesn’t apply to people on Medicare! He offered to have me do a three-way call with their provider and Medicare to assure me Medicare wouldn’t allow a new pump, but told me he had spoken to literally thousands in the same situation so I didn’t bother. I figured I’d have no choice but to go on the Medtronic temporarily as no way can I make supplies last that long. However…long story does have an ok ending…I spoke to the supplier (CCS 800-599-7521) and they said they had a limited amount of Ping supplies they could sell me and that after those ran out there are compatible cartridges and infusion sets. So it sounds like I can wait out my warranty and go straight to the T-Slim. I decided not to take advantage of the $750, even though I have an older Ping I can use because I’m paranoid it will void my warranty and I won’t be able to get supplies (probably won’t happen, but I’d hate to shoot myself in the foot).

Why did I write this long boring tale? In case any of you are in a similar position and the info is useful mainly. Also to vent. In case I’m missing something you may know though it sounds like this is the only option.

End long boring tale.

Zoe

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#2

So many people have been stressed out by Animas’ decision to leave the pump market. When I first joined this site Animas and Medtronic were the pumps of the day and Animas was giving Medtronic a run for its money.

Animus was the innovator of the time, it was so sad to see them bow out of the market. I think you will like the Tandem pump. I have a Tandem but not the X2, it does not integrate with a CGM but still I like it.

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#3

@Zoe - I find myself in a similar situation in Canada.

Our provinces (same as states) usually fund pumps for T1’s. My province used to have 3 approved pump choices: Animas, Dexcom and Omnipod. Of course now there are 2

Issue for me is once Medtronic cuts off their Animas supplies in September I’ll still have 3 months left on my warranty. I don’t want a Medtronic pump. I want a Tandem (approved federally but not provincially).

Unless I take Medtronic up on their offer, I’ll have no pump supplies. I don’t want either a Medtronic or Omnipod asI’d be stuck with it for the following 4 years.

What to do? I’m not inclined to go back to MDI

#4

Sorry you’re in a similar jam, Jim. Is there possibly another supplier in your province like the one I found here that will be able to provide you either Animas supplies or other compatible ones after September? Perhaps you could ask Tandem as I did what suppliers they use. I also have a friend who has switched and offered me leftover Animas supplies to get me through until my warranty is up.

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#5

Great suggestion @Zoe

After checking I’ve found a source for Animas cartridges ($150) and reservoirs ($62). Holy smokes they’re expensive.

Cartridges / Reservoirs for Insulin Pumps

#6

That’s expensive! Won’t your usual insurance cover it? I wouldn’t think Animas’ situation would preclude coverage of supplies as long as you don’t double order them from different places. But I don’t pretend to understand my own insurance let alone anyone else’s! Hopefully one way or another we will both make it through until we can get a new pump.

Zoe

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#7

Pump and supplies coverage is a lot different here in Canada. I don’t have a private (work) insurance plan, so my pump coverage is strictly run on a provincial (regional) basis.

Getting thru to them for something they already believe is covered would be problematic (they’d likely say just switch to Medtronic system and we’ll maintain coverage).