Loss of Minimed Advocacy

I have been on Minimed pumps for 28 years. Been a fierce advocate for the company, Love their product.

I recently had a sensor transmitter crack and fail as of Tuesday last week (Minimed Model 551 Pump). My warranty expires February 22nd. So it is a challenging situation since the pump will (should) be replaced in late Feb with a 670G, but in the meantime paying $700 out-of-pocket for an obsolete transmitter that will not work with the 670G in <90 makes little logical sense.

I contacted Minimed for assistance in getting pre-approval to go head with the replacement. I was told by my regional salesman that Medtronic has a company policy in place the insurance carriers that will not allow they to assist with pre-approval within the warranty period. So, I have been working directly with United Health (UHC) (who do not have an issue with the “early” replacement). However, I am having to go to Minimed for information, then to the endo, then to Minimed, then to UHV (and back again). All the while, the insurance rep at UHC is asking why Minimed does not help as it is an automated web based process for them.

The was a time, not too long ago, when Minimed was our advocate. They would fight with us and our Endo’s to support pump therapy and push insurers to get on the bus. It appears Minimed has decided their new marketing strategy is to get in bed with insurance companies to maximum their profits. Their original corporate philosophy of “support the patients and profitability will follow” has unfortunately been lost.

After 28 years of being a Minimed supporter and advocate, I am tempted to try Tandem. While they are a little behind in the technology development, their customer support seems no worse, and goodness knows Minimed needs real competition. **** shame…would love to know your opinions on Tandem support experiences.

I don’t see how they are behind in technological development. Medtronic’s strategy is always to be first to market, but that doesn’t necessarily mean best by any means. They release substandard products and update them later. Tandem software can be upgraded through a computer, unlike Medtronic, and the pumps integrate with Dexcom which is miles ahead of Medtronic sensor tech. Basal IQ is apparently way better than the Medtronic equivalent and I would think their closed-loop system will work better as well when it comes out soon. I should add I am not a Tandem customer, just someone else disappointed with Medtronic’s direction.

I was also a Minimed/Medtronic user for about 25 years. I finally decided to see what else was out there and went with Tandem. I, like you never had problems with customer support when it was Minimed but not as good when it went Medtronic. But I also never had any problems with any of my 3 pumps I had with them so I didn’t have a lot of call with customer support.
That being said, support services with any medical device is very important! And if they are not meeting your needs, it might be time for something else. There are so many new pumps coming. Next few years are going to be very exciting pump wise.
I have been waiting for the iLet pump, which looks like a few more years. So I am turning in my old t:slim for a new Tandem X2. The predictive low suspend is a huge selling point for me and the fact I can download any new changes on my computer. No more waiting for a new pump to get the newest programming.
Sorry about the hassle you are having with Medtronic. I hope you can get it resolved or a different pump company.