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The Old Grind.

I submitted a prescription to my medical supply home delivery place. 

As a result of my desire to lower my A1c, a sprinkling of hypoglycemic unawareness, and a dash of daily cardiovascular exercise, I test my blood sugar often.  “Often” meaning “sometimes up to 18 times per day.”  While I understand that this is excessive and potentially overzealous, I know that it is the best method this side of a constant glucose monitor (that actually works – zing!) of keeping myself in attempted control. 

Back at my old job, I was paying the difference for the strips that my insurance wouldn’t cover.  I spent a lot of money on these little suckers that my old insurance company deemed “unnecessary more than 4x per day,” despite letters from my doctor.  (This goes back to my whole “paying to treat complications vs. paying to prevent them” mentality, but what do I know?)  Regardless of cost, I knew that frequent testing worked best for me and I was sticking with it.

Cue dLife.  Then cue happily chucking the finger to my old job.

The medical insurance is far superior here than at my last job.  However, diabetes company or not, medical insurance is still medical insurance.  You can only do so much.

Back to the beginning:

I submitted a prescription to my medical supply home delivery service for 90 days worth of test strips at 18x per day.  I received a phone call from the supply company today.

Representative De Jour From Medical Company:  "Yes, I'm calling to speak with Kerri More-Own-Eee?"

Me:  "It's More-own ("Soon to be Sparling," I thought gleefully).  How can I help you?"

RDJFMC:  "Yes, I am calling about your prescription for One Touch UltraSmart test strips."  Pause.  "It says here 18 times per day."

Me:  "That's true.  That's the correct prescription."

RDJFMC:  "Okay."  Pause again.  "Do you really test your blood sugar that often?"

Me:  "I do.  I realize that seems a bit much, but it's what my doctor and I have decided works best for me." 

(Closer.  I'll have him on the same page by the end of this call.)

RDJFMC:  "I have a note here from the pharmacist to make sure it's necessary that you test this often."

Me:  Starting to get annoyed.  "I double-checked all the scripts before I sent them to you.  I am actively involved in my diabetes management and I can assure you that the script my doctor wrote is both necessary and accurate."

RDJFMC:  "Oh.  Okay, I just wanted to check before we sent this order out.  It will be shipped to you by Tuesday.  All "  He pauses again.  "That's a lot of testing.  Doesn't that get expensive?"

(Oh, much closer!  Maybe he gets it now!)

Me:  Laughing.  "Yes, it does.  Good thing I have you guys!"

RDJFMC:  "Good thing indeed, Ms. More-Own-Eee."

(Sigh.  So close.)


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What great news! And what a break for your budget.

They just don't get it do they. I test 10-12x a day and sometimes more and have been questioned several times by my insurance company. Finally, I get my 250 a month which really only equals to about 8 tests a day. But when I go to order them again, and it's always early, they understand and fill the order. Insurance companies - Can't live with 'em, Can't live without 'em!

The insurance company my company had (before switching a few years ago) did the same thing. I responded by telling them that a) I could download records onto my PC to prove it to them if they wanted them b) that hypoglycemia unawareness is costly, but the cost of ignoring it means regular treatment by EMTs/ER at the cost of several thousand dollars each time, so in the grand scheme of things, the cost of test strips is likely to SAVE them money and c) if they are hassling patients about this, the alternative for many is no testing at all, and its well documented that these people end up costing insurers significantly more.

In the end, they rubber-stamped my order, but it still p!$$ed me off.

I always get shit from the insurance company, too. Maybe I should get a job with a diabetes organization.

It doesn't matter how often I get letters of exemption and whatnot, I still have to jump thru hoops every single time. Drives me insane.

I really worry about what O's going to do when she's out on her own. Not having any insurance or having inadequate insurance could be really costly for her. Gah.

Just think, soon it'll be, "Kerri Spare-ling? Spar-ling? Spar-LING?"

I thought I would be done with spelling my last name for people on the phone, but now it's more like, "No, no, with an Mc, not an Mac. No, not McDonnell."

Julia - I don't know if it's the fact that I work for dLife or if it's just that the insurance here isn't garbage. My old job charged me more than $5000 out-of-pocket per year for all my supplies, and the hoop-jumping was excessive. I think the insurance here is just ... dare I say normal? (Cue the phone ringing and the insurer denying me insulin or something. Blast.)

However, my first job was at a bank and I had no trouble at all having things covered and adjusting to constant but minimal co-pays.

What makes me nervous is how much costs have increased since I was tossed into the workforce in 2001. If I've seen these kinds of financial changes in only six years, I don't even want to think about how tangled things could be in 20. I know I'll always be in search of insurance that is adequate. It's a daunting thought.

Hannah - I've already heard "Spalding" and "Sparring." And I'm not even married.

But it's significantly better than "Moron". :)

How frustrating - both the questioning of the test strips and mispronunciation repeat.

I have people who insist my name is spelled Rachael even when I make a point of NO, it's Rachel. I'm sure you get that more than me with all the possible ways to spell your first name

That is good news Kerri. I have been lucky with my 200 a month so far. Somedays its 8-10 others its 6 so it works for me for now.

That's good news. Makes me feel a little better about our testing Charlie about 15 times a day. We've definitely run into some eye-rolling and major questioning of our desire to test as much as we do.

My insurance covers 15 test strips per day for me, and 7 per day for my daughter. I've never had big problems getting them covered. BCBS also is now covering CGMS systems for patients with hypoglycemic unawareness. I guess I just keep getting lucky.

I was wonderting if you have looked into getting your supplies from A-Plus, they don't charge any insurance deductibles. They just accept what the insurance will pay. It could help with some of the extra costs.

Good insurance is definitely a blessing! I'm glad it worked out for you.

We have a prescription for 10 test strips per day and no one ever gave us a problem about it. BCBS is an awesome insurance company. The few times we've gotten grief from them was quickly and easily ironed out in our favor.

Thank god for your new insurance..so u dont have to pay as much now. And I also check my sugar about that many times, sometimes more...I am a big sports person so im always checking an hour or two before, right before, durring, and after, each sport..so it all adds up! but thats what we gotta do if we want to be in the best control we possible can, right?!

Kerri, you definitely ARE lucky! Aetna hasn't had any problems filling my scripts at 10xday (300 a month) but I found myself going and paying out of pocket at the end of the month because sometimes I test up to 15 per day. So last month I asked for 12xday and got denied! I guess I will be calling them and using some of these good comments on here. What insurance do you have?

My standard comment when a supplier questions my scripts are to ask when they became licensed to practice medicine and write prescriptions. An insurance company can not question how many bs tests are required. Maybe the brand of strips, but nothing else. AND I am in one of the only states that does not require D coverage.

So I've been getting by with testing only about 8 times a day on average. Which means some days I only test 4-5 times and then some days (I hate those) I test 12+ times.

I will say that in the 8 days that I've had the Dexcom my total number of tests has dropped overall. But then sometimes I'm testing with the Ultra required by the Dexcom and with my UltraSmart. So I probably am consuming more strips overall.

I can't wait to report how the battle with insurance goes as I try to get coverage for the Dexcom.

I was really shocked by this blog! They say that we live in "The Lucky Country," and I wholeheartedly second that! The Australian Government takes incredible care of Type1 Diabetics.
No Australian Type1 Diabetic pays a cent for syringes or pen needles. I pay $1 for a box of Optium Xceed Test Strips (100) and $1 for 3x3 pack of Acu-check Integra barrels that contain 17 strips in each.

Demarco's insulins (Novorapid and Levemir) BOTH come in boxes that contain 5 prefilled pens in each. Each script has 5 boxes. A script in Australia for someone with a "disability" is $4.90. This means that I pay less than $10($536 worth in total) for Demarco's insulin for 6 months supply, in which I receive 50 prefilled pens, 25 for each insulin.
Lancets cost 1 cent each!

I know pumpers pay approx $30 for their tubing and other expenses per month.

A script of Glucagon is $4.90. (valued at $50)

Drug companies usually give new glucometers to people who are newly diagnosed and JDRF Ambassadors plus heaps of free merchandise.

Despite Type 1 Diabetes having such a costly impact on Demarco's life, in reality, I am so thankful that we live in a country where our health system gives such incredible support to sufferers of chronic illnesses, not just Type 1 Diabetes. Demarco's GP, paediatrician and dietician are all FREE consultations.(That goes for the other 140 000 Type 1 Diabetics in our nation, too!)

The main problem in our country at the moment is a crippling drought, which has forced our leaders to introduce "recycled" water, because there just isn't enough to go around at this point in time.(Our clouds are constipated.)

Other than that, it's bloody ripper to be an Aussie,and to have such bonza mates in the States!

Ugh! I know this posting is a day old but I'm catching up and had to comment. I get this all the time from my insurance and it is sooo frustrating. Whenever I get questions about it, I just tell them it's something that could potentially prolong my life and delay dialysis, and then I ask them if it still sounds so crazy. That usually shuts them up for a bit (I say it very politely, I know they are just doing their jobs). The way they question me, you'd think I was selling those strips on the street. Had to vent on this one. On a lighter note - Congrats on the engagment!!

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