Recently someone I know was diagnosed with diabetes. Because this person is an adult, they have yet to decide if they are Type 1 or Type 2. The process of finding an exact diagnosis exceedingly slow and painful for me to watch. I want to see this person feeling better and back on their feet. I want them to be able to learn how to take care of themselves and reclaim their lives.
In my desire to help, I have offered tips and information on treatment options. I am fully aware that some doctors prefer a tried and true older method of care in part because of the costs associated with the best care options. I know that this person would want to have the best life possible. I never thought a lot about the cost factor. I always tend to look at quality of life.
I am lucky. My son has insurance that covers test strips and insulin. We live in a province that covers his pump and supplies until he is 25. The only thing that we have to worry about paying for is a continuous glucose monitor and at the moment I am still working to convince him that he wants one.
I also have great credit and have been able to purchase his supplies out of pocket on my Visa card and then pay my Visa off when the reimbursement cheque came in. Not everyone is so lucky. In the case of this person who has diabetes (type unknown), there is some insurance but no direct billing. All strips and medications must be paid up front. This family does not have a credit card to use to help delay payment. They have to look at paying everything in cash.
The cost of diabetes supplies was a huge shock to them. The idea of paying $1 every time this person had to check their blood seemed ridiculous. Their answer was that testing would be cut down or non-existent once the doctors knew what was going on.
My heart broke. Its not that simple especially if the diagnosis is Type 1(which is a strong possibility). To stop testing puts this person at risk for so many things. They do not yet understand how vital the information from that test strip will be for their daily lives. They do not yet know that testing must occur before eating, during the night, before exercise, and even before driving.
This family now has to learn how to deal with a very serious disease that will bring stresses into their lives that were previously unknown. There is relief for them in knowing what is going on health-wise but the financial burden is something that they have not anticipated.
We live in a country that is proud of its public health care system. This family can recieve a diagnosis without worrying about spending a small fortune or having the proper insurance. They cannot however anticipate any help to pay for the medications and supplies that will be needed to stay healthy after a diagnosis is finally made and that is the biggest tragedy of all.