Fed Up - Any Insights

Hey gang, I’m pretty new to Tudiabetes.org and it’s great to hear such great stories, but I’m fed up with Diabetes. I’m 45, I’ve been a diabetic for about 17 years now and on a pump for the last 6 or 7. I’ve been self-employed for quite some time and the financial hardship has made it a royal pain. My wife went back to work in order to get me a pump and while we were on that insurance at least there was some hope. They paid for 100% of my test strips and a significant part of my insulin and most of my pump and supplies. Now, we are BOTH self employed, paying an outragious amount in insurance premiums with w $5,000 deductable, and the insurance company pays almost nothing for my supplies or insulin. What that means is that I stress when it’s time to buy insulin or test strips, I don’t test except every couple of days, my A1C are still through the roof (of course), my pump is out of warranty so it will cost me at least $5K to get a new one, I can’t afford the doctor the way I should so I don’t go, etc, etc, etc.

I don’t want to whine about this, I just need some people to speak into this and help me find some resources. Outside of this stupid condition, I’m completely healthy and have a lot of years in front of me. Anyone that has some advice about economical places to get supplies and prescriptions or insurance advice, please let me hear.

I’d much rather be out in front of this instead of it running my life. Thanks for listening.

I’m sorry to hear you are struggling so much. :frowning: I don’t have Type 1, so I don’t have as many expenses, but I don’t have any insurance right now, and yeah, things get expensive fast. I buy my strips from http://www.americandiabeteswholesale.com, as they give me 100 strips for what 50 of them would cost me at a retail store. Sometimes, you can find cheap deals on Ebay, but buyer beware, as some of those might be close to their expiration date.

Thanks for that resource. I’ll check that one out

Troy, what a frustrating position to be in. This was one reason I had some high hopes for health care/insurance reform, to help people just like you. Its ridiculous to have to struggle with those costs.

I’d talk to the pump manufacturers and see what kind of program they might have. You should be able to get some strips and such from your doctor. If I’m not mistaken, they get so much in free merchandise from the drug reps, so they should be able to stock you relatively well. I know some drug companies have programs for people such as you, its worth a call to the insulin manufacturer and see what kind of program they have set up and their requirements.

Your endo should have access to a diabetes educator. He/She should be a great resource to find out what kind of programs or assistance is in your area for you. There is on reason to sacrifice your health.

I know how much I pay out of pocket each year, and without our insurance, we’d be bankrupt. It makes no sense to me whatsoever in this country to have this going on.

Good luck!!

I wish I could give you more advise… I’ve had type 1 for about the same length of time and have been on the pump for as long also. I have always wanted to own my own business, but was never willing to take the risk with diabetes and the financial strain. Depending upon what you do… some of the self employment associations… may have insurance opportunities that may make it a bit easier. Good luck and stick with it. Cara has great advice. I would also check with Hospital foundations… they often have grants that individuals can take advantage of to receive assistance. Good luck!

I have my own company with employees and such so the potential of staying a business owner is much greater than working for someone else. I just hate that insurance becomes such a hurdle. As an employee the Health initiatives sounded good, but as an employer it would put me out of business if I HAD to pick up all my employees insurance. I’m stradeling the fence at the moment. Not profitable enough yet for Group insurance, but too much for other options. The grant thing sounds promising. I now have to go out and find a new doctor since I’ve moved to a new area.


If I had to stretch my dollars I would ditch the pump and get a CGM. I can cover the cost of the CGM with the savings from bg strips. I cannot imagine testing only every couple of days. Don’t let your A1C get out of control. Complications are soooo much harder to manage than bg. If you are not willing to spend a couple hundreds of bucks a month on sensors in addition to the insulin then I have no solution for you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that this will not catch up to you. For $3k/year you can have A1C in the 5s. Invest in your health.

Helmut, when you say CGM I assume you are referring to Continuous Glucose Monitoring system? That is pump and sensor which is a cost of close to $6K-$7K from Minimed. As much as I want to do that, I can’t swing it. I’m already spending close to $300 just in insulin and test strips even with not testing as much as I should. Add another $400 quarterly in pump supplies and you see where I’m heading. I’m not saying I should sacrifice my health. The reason I put myself out here is to find some solutions, but it seems that everyone on here’s doing well because they have insurance that actually does something for them except take their money. I’ve got Blue Cross so I’m not with some fly-by-night insurance company. I’m just looking for people that can offer me some solutions and not judge my circumstances.

Troy, I use the DexCom 7+. A sensor lasts me 12 days and costs $70. In addition I use about 4 bg strips/day for calibration. With these tools you can be in the top 1%. There is no better investment out there.

Totally understand…because I have been there. Few thoughts…if your pump is out of warranty and you are in need of a new one or supplies, check on Craig’s List…also check w/ the manufacturers to see if they will give you a break…likely not, from my experience. I got a 1 year old Paradigm 522 w/ CGMS sensor and at least 3 months supplies on Craig’s List from a kind lady wanting to help another T1. Would recommend contacting the person by phone and if you need to pay for shipping or something, use PayPal. You can even purchase the change in warranty from Minimed…and they will refurb the pump and send it back to you if you think you need it…costs about $800 (about what I have paid w/ insurance as a copay). Make sure, when searching on Craig’s List, to check lots of different cities and usually if you search for “insulin pump” it will pull up all their listings.

As far as cost of insurance, the only I have found that will cover me is through the university that I attend for graduate school. I have 20% co-pays on everything and limited durable equipment/meds (1K and 1.2K respectively) but, I pay only about $2K/yr. I consider my insurance is truly just for hospitalization coverage and basic needs. I have to get my insulin, test strips and meds a different way and save the meds coverage for other things including some of my pump supplies for the end of the year.

Unfortunately, if you have insurance coverage, you will not likely qualify for Patient Assistance Programs…but, check anyways. I was approved because of not having coverage for meds. It is a huge savings ($3000 for test strips; about the same for insulin). If you cannot get help w/ test strips, I would recommend trying WaveSense Presto and test strips which are inexpensive and very accurate…you can get them mail order or at local WalMart,etc. Can buy on Ebay…also caution about out of date strips, etc. You may wish to consider Helmut’s recommendation to get a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS)…there are at least 3 available to us in US and 2 are separate from the pump. I have decided to do this because I can get sensors for my Minimed Paradigm and already had the transmitter. I have considered purchasing the DexCom because expense could be as low as $5/d and I have really benefited from the month of CGM w/ the Minimed. You can use the CGMS intermittantly…meaning not all the time. Some people get almost 3 weeks out of a sensor…read other posts. The information will help you fine tune your basals on the pump and make sure you are taking enough insulin for carbs. CGMS also helped me find hypoglycemic episodes that I could not feel. I have dropped my HgA1c from 7.2 to 5.9 w/ CGMS and low carb diet (about 30-50 gms/d). This also allows me to use a lot less insulin (1/2 previous total daily dose) = cost savings and better health.

My thoughts are that testing and pumping keep us well…try to find a way to get coverage or supplies:) You can get pump and testing supplies cheaper, but you have to try to stay safe…can only due that if you are testing frequently (8+ times per day or CGMS+ testing to confirm numbers). Try to get insulin from either your doctor (will give you a little which is a cost savings) or through companies (Patient Assistance Programs). They may be loosening the restrictions on who can get PAP given the economy and costs of care. If you need help finding online sites for your specific insulin…just email me.

I wish you well, Troy. Prioritize your health and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. This is a great community and others will give you advice and supplies as you need them.


Thank you so much. This has been the most helpful post yet. I hate that it boils down to money sometimes, but with this condition you have to have the right tools in order to take care of it the right way. I’m going to check some of this stuff out and see what I can find. I had an easy time finding the right health professionals and such while in Los Angeles. I could even go to Minimed directly, but have had a hard time for the last 4 years in Nashville trying to even find a good doctor.

Thanks for your input.

Glad to help:) I did my internship at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. Check w/ the Diabetes Center…their docs and programs should be very good. They also are a research center and you may get in on some studies w/ monitoring and free supplies (thinking CGMS or pump). Take care:)

Hi Troy,

Not a long-term solution, but I ask my doctor for freebies & always get them. I tease him that’s it’s worth seeing him frequently to load up on insulin & supplies. Every little bit helps.

I periodically Google free glucose meters. Better to stick to one brand for consistency, but free meters come with free strips & better than not testing frequently enough. One meter came with 50 strips. Felt like Christmas when I opened that package. I also got additional strips from diabetes ed classes offered through a local hospital. They were very nice when I explained I couldn’t afford as many as I needed as a Type 1. They get loads of freebies from company reps.

Like Lizmari, I get some supplies through http://www.americandiabeteswholesale.com. Tu D members get a discount, so check them out through the About Us link at the top of every page.

I don’t have a pump, so afraid I can’t offer suggestions for that.

So sorry for what you’re going through.


I know that Medtronic has a foundation that they work with. I am being supplied with reservoirs and quick sets through a place called Foundation Care. I called Medtronic’s financial people and they took my application over the phone and [not too long later] was approved.

What kind of strips do you use for testing? Do you use the AccuChek Multiclix pen? What kind of pump do you use? It’s important to know because I may be able to help you out with those needs.

Please respond soon.

Lois La Rose
Milwaukee, WI

Gerri, thanks for the info and the sentiments. I guess my frustration came off a bit like whining. I’ve just got to take a deep breath and dive back into finding some solutions. Just all mounted up at once.

I’m on a Medtronic Paradigm 720 pump and using One Touch Ultra strips. I’m going to call MiniMed tomorrow and follow up. They called me not too long ago and when they found out how high my deductable was and that it wasn’t an easy sell they never called back. LOL. I’ll pursue. There’s always someone bigger up the food chain.


Nah, you weren’t whining. If you can’t talk among friends who understand, who can you tell? Having diabetes is overwhelming & frustrating enough without the additional burden of financial worries.

Great suggestions from the others. Hoping they pan out.