With November being Diabetic Awareness Month, I can assure you that there is not a worse time to be a diabetic.
As a Type 1 diabetic, I rely on specific medications for my well-being — the most important being insulin.
For all you non-diabetics out there, you have the luxury of naturally producing insulin by your pancreas. Diabetics aren’t so lucky, so like most illnesses, we pay for our medications to stay alive.
I’m one of the fortunate ones — my insurance covers 100% of my medication costs.
However, other diabetics have to pay a ludicrous amount of money for their medications.
According to an analysis on health care claim data in 2016, Health Care Cost Institute estimated that individuals with Type 1 diabetes spend over $5,000 a year for insulin.
On top of that, diabetics need other supplies to test and monitor their blood sugar, which adds another $4,000 to their bill.
Three years later and this price continues to increase.
The high out-of-pocket prices for insulin are forcing many diabetics to hoard insulin, skip medicating themselves or trade doses with people on social media, which is illegal and dangerous as not all insulin types are suitable for others.
Different insulins provide better outcomes for specific diabetics.
Every time my insurance changes, there’s a small part of me that worries what diabetic medications will be covered and what won’t.
In two years, I will be off my parents’ insurance and there’s a massive anxiety that comes with that — will I have the right insurance to help pay for my supplies? If not, how much money will I have to pay out of pocket for my health?
I shouldn’t have to fight to survive with a medication that has been around since the 1920s and neither should any other diabetic — insured or not.
Fortunately, some state legislators are seeking to cap out-of-pocket insulin payers at $100 per month’s supply.
State Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat, is sponsoring the bill at the House. Guzzardi said the bill seeks to provide “sanctuary for everyone who needs insulin.”
Other states are seeking to lower insulin prices as well, which is a step in the right direction for the survival of struggling diabetics.
Diabetes is already rough. If left untreated, diabetics can suffer long term health issues like limb amputation, blindness, organ failure or death.
It’s a constant gamble when dealing with our sugar levels.
For Diabetic Awareness Month, I implore you to be aware of your diabetic friends and family members — every day is a fight for survival and a fight for financial stability. It’s an awareness month for a reason.
So, on top of all the other, more mainstream awareness months, try being cognizant of our medical struggles, too.
Sincerely, me, your diabetic friend.