Rising Health Care Costs: The T1D Label

I’m nervous about the future of health care in this country, especially for type 1 diabetics like myself. I was diagnosed almost five years ago at the age of 22. I have no family history, and there was no evidence of an autoimmune attack so the doctors do not know why my pancreas just stopped making insulin. But it did.

Many researchers point to a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers. With the amount of chemicals plaguing our food and our household products, that’s not so surprising. But then why, among my two brothers and a mother and father, was I the only one that contracted diabetes? When I was diagnosed, my parents were surprised, mostly because out of everyone in our family, I was the only one who made a daily, concerted effort to eat right and exercise. What was it for?

This is a question I no longer ask, and I am thankful I have employer-sponsored health insurance that will cover the cost of my expensive disease. But when it comes to health care, I am one of “those” who potentially costs the system. I fall into the “high-risk pool.” From an evolutionary perspective, I should have been weeded out of the population five years ago. But here I am.

Even though I am no longer considered “young and healthy,” I still consider myself “young and healthy.” I manage my diabetes well with an insulin pump. I maintain an A1C of 5.6 (average blood sugar readings over the last 90 days). My average daily blood sugar readings range from 70 to 160. I still have bad days, and if I had a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, I’m sure it would show a higher range, but when you have to survive on animal insulin injections and carb estimations, how much do people really expect you to get it perfect?

I’m thankful for the insurance I have, which allows me to afford my insulin pump supplies, my test strips and insulin doses. There was a time when I didn’t have coverage, when I had to pay for my “life source” out-of-pocket, and suffered the consequences (financial and physical). I’ve endured a health insurance roller coaster in the past four years. Continue reading

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