Managing Type 1 without insurance

I recently left the job that was providing my insurance coverage. I have 60 days to decide whether to sign up for COBRA, and I can keep COBRA for 18 months. But COBRA will cost me $1,000 a month! I’ve been looking at discount prescription sites like, and I believe if I paid out-of-pocket for my insulin, pump supplies, CGM supplies, and test strips, it would average $700 a month, maybe less. So I’m considering doing that, and then getting a “limited benefit plan” to cover any surprise healthcare needs. Does this sound logical? What other considerations do I need to take into account? Or what other options do I have for maintaining my good health and managing my diabetes without insurance?

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I have considered the high-risk pool in your state, or Obamacare?

Depending upon your income these may give you more benefits and be reasonably affordable (if anything is). Be careful that, if you spend any time uninsured, it may be more difficult to come back into the system.

I think that you can purchase your policy straight out of COBRA (I don’t know how much $ that would run you). That’s probably best, if possible. Because I purchased my plan after COBRA ran out, some time ago, I still run on that. I like the consistency of having a privately purchased policy that doesn’t change. I used to pay $250/month and I think its up to $400 after Obama care, but there is some reimbursement coming from the Feds for privately purchased policies. You are paying quite a bit, I think.

If you don’t need to see a Doc, you can always go into emergency survival mode - buy strips and insulin over the counter at Walmart. Although, some people say those old insulins lead to less stable BG’s. I’m sure that you could buy insulin and strips for around $150/mo.

What state are you in? In my state, individuals must go one month uninsured before becoming eligible for state insurance. My state plan covers pumps, but not CGM. Its a pretty good plan that covers most everything.

and don’t be shy about asking for free supplies from your endo. I have been getting a steady supply of Humalog from my endo, at each 90-day appointment, so that I don’t have to pay an outrageous copay. I get 2 meds for FREE, from the respective manufacturers because of our income level (both on soc sec). Sure beats paying the copays, especially the high copay for Dexilant. Always ASK for help with costs; doctors and med manufacturers!

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I don’t know if this is an option for you, but I’m on Blue Cross Blue Shield. They pay for everything for me, insulin pens, needles, test strips, etc. The only thing that isn’t covered is vitamins, which are only a couple bucks anyway. Since I’m on dialysis, the kidney foundation pays my premium, but I think the plan I’m on is about $500/month. There are different plans obviously, but I use a bunch of meds, for diabetes and kidney failure.

Sign up for Obamacare, since you just left . You may get a low cost plan, free or Medicaid. Novolog has 100.00 coupon for insulin. Check out their site. It sends u to a site Cornerstone 4 diabetes. Lot of people get insulin from their doc. The doctors understand or talk to the nurse practitioner in diabetes clinic. Obama care is 100 times better then Cobra. CVS and Walgreen insulins are much more expensive than Walmart. I found out the hard way. CVS brand and Walmart brand test strips are fine. Keep in mind that you may want some kind of plan for podiatry, vision and anything else you may need.
You may be going through a stressful time. Reach out!!!

I know this is old, but since it’s back in the feed and may be helpful to others… Look for a small/private pharmacy, preferably one associated with a clinic. Not the big CVS, Walgreens, Walmarts, etc… They very often have an insurance “group” for their customers without assistance.

My diabetic supplies are fully covered by my insurance, but my self-employed boyfriend doesn’t have coverage for his asthma inhalers. Two different ones cost $270 and $375 out of pocket, but the pharmacy’s own supplemental policy (or whatever it may be called) drops them to just $30 a piece for us. Since he travels a lot for business, we’ve found similar practices is other cities as well.

You should have seen the happy dance I did when I learned about that savings option! Don’t be afraid to shop around!