Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Diabetes Blog Week Day 2: The Cost of a Chronic Illness

Diabetes Blog Week Day 2:Today’s prompt Insulin and other diabetes medications and supplies can be costly.  Here in the US, insurance status and age (as in Medicare eligibility) can impact both the cost and coverage.  So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care.  Do you have advice to share?  For those outside the US, is cost a concern?  Are there other factors such as accessibility or education that cause barriers to your diabetes care?  (This topic was inspired by suggestions from Rick and Jen.)

I've never calculated exact costs per year that I've spent on diabetes care. I knew roughly how much I spent on prescriptions so that I could try to calculate flexible spending correctly.  A bit of denial here as to how expensive things really are.   

Between co-pays, deductibles, out of my paycheck costs every 2 weeks for coverage*, is by best educated guess close to $20,000 a year.  *health insurance for 2 people was roughly $530/month. 

I am thankful that I had good private health insurance through my place of employment, though I'm realizing now how pricy it was.  Still less than if I had to pay all out of pocket if  I didn't have any insurance.  This is what boggles my mind this week - how the price of the same medication, for the same dose can vary greatly between plan.  I do understand, sort of, that some of that is based on what the companies all negotiate, but it varies greatly, and you have no real insight into what things really cost until your plan starts.  I know ahead of time what average co-pays are.  But that's where things start to get tricky, and confusing, and gives me a headache.  It's also not like you have a choice between 2-3 PPO's or HMO's at work and can investigate and find the one that works best for your needs.  You really don't have much control.  

I'll  say it again, you  really don't have much control. 

To highlight this point, I recently switched health insurance due to loss of employment, and switching to my husband's plan.   The table below compares just 2 medications, and average appointment costs per year:

I know, right? $900 difference for just 2 mediations.

Costs of things, and insurance and pharmacy benefit and how things are negotiated are above my pay grade.  I guess I sort of wish there was some sort of standard, and that overall the costs of things people with diabetes NEED to live, like insulin, were more regulated and less expensive.   And yes, I know that as a whole things rarely get less expensive. 


  1. I think there does indeed need to be a standard price. It baffles me on just how complicated the price of our healthcare is so boggled with codes, secretary, and bad pixie dust.

  2. It's such a mixed up, over complicated system in the US! Boggled is definitely the right word to use.