How do you deal with the red tape?


(Leah) #1

Hi everyone, I’m having a lot of issues with insurance and the cost of diabetes in general. It’s not exactly new, I’ve had diabetes for 19 years (since age 9) but I really want to have the disease under control and the issues with getting the supplies are preventing me from doing so. How do you guys afford this disease? Today it’s been one week since I’ve tested my blood sugar because I can’t pick up my test strips because they say I need “prior authorization” from my insurance company. I’ve called the company, my doctor, and the pharmacy more than once and no one seems to be able to help. This happens all the time with strips and insulin and syringes (and pump supplies back when I could afford it) and mostly just prevents me from getting the supplies or medication for a week or two, sometimes 3. The problem is I don’t have much time to deal with this on a daily basis and I’m having a hard time staying motivated to try because of all this constant red tape. Does anyone have any advice? Or maybe links to in person support groups? It’d be nice to meet even one other person struggling with T1D face to face. Thanks for listening


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #2

Hi Leah @Loki1234, I hear what you are saying, I’ve been there. You don’t mention the type insurance you have, if it is an “Individual” plan [one you bought for yourself] or a Group" plan that you got through your employment; it makes a big difference in how we can answer your questions. The JDRF publishes a guide to insurance and here is the link: https://www.jdrf.org/t1d-resources/living-with-t1d/insurance/ . Also available on the main JDRF webpage [JDRF.org] under “Resources” tab you can get individual assistance. The “Resources” tab at the top pf this page has more information and can connect you to individuals like you who can assist.

One of the tactics I used to closely assure that my medical needs would be met was to choose employers who provided an option to buy Group Insurance - and then when I was laid off during the depression of the 1970’s, I converted my group insurance to an individual plan and made paying the premium TOP PRIORITY for the few bucks I could pick up from odd jobs.

During the 1970’s home glucose testing wasn’t available so “strips” weren’t an issue, so I bought the lowest cost insulin and made a needle and syringe last a Looooooongggg time. Insulin, both “N” &“R” can be purchased at less than $25 / vial; these basic insulins will keep you alive and thriving - they worked for me for almost 40 years before the invention of the stuff most often prescribed now.


(joe) #3

@Loki1234 hi Leah,

Agree with @Dennis. Also, if your doctor is game, they must demand you test 10x per day. That way when your allotment is calculated the insurance vampires won’t cut you short. I have my doctor over indicate testing and insulin amounts to ensure I have the right count at all times.

I am very fortunate in that my insurance, through my company, covers all of my supplies with a mild copay. It’s one of the reasons they have me chained to my desk now. Good luck.


(Kristi) #4

Hi Leah,

It’s important to have a doctor who is willing to go to bat for you with insurance. If the insurance requires pre-auth for a prescription, the doctor’s office is responsible for obtaining that. Sometimes they need a little push to get it done, which is frustrating. But make it clear to them that you are not caring for yourself the best you can because you don’t have access to your supplies. Getting pre-auth is a fixable issue, and they should be helping you with it!