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 Can buy on Ebay…also caution about out of date strips, etc.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.