This isn't the first time and it definitely won't be the last time I vent my frustration about how expensive diabetes supplies are. Grab a coffee or a snack because this is a long rant....
On Friday, I headed to the pharmacy to stock up on some supplies I was running short on. My test strips were also on sale so I wanted to take advantage and get a little extra while they were a smidge cheaper.
This is what I bought:
- 200 iBGStar test strips
- One month supply of my Hypertension meds
- 5 penfill vials of Novorapid insulin
- 5 pre-filled pens of Lantus
For a grand total of.....drum roll please....
Being that it's finally a new year, my benefits are back into full swing - for now anyway. I have horrible benefits through my employer. I run out of coverage about half way through the year. So of the above mentioned bill, $97 of it I get no reimbursement whatsoever as my Lantus is not covered by my benefits or by our provincial Pharmacare plan. The only way it will be covered is if I have night time lows on NPH which I decided was best not to mess around with especially working shift work. That leaves $238 of which I will get 80% back, so this trip to the pharmacy is really costing me $145.
The test strips will last a little over a month; the hypertension meds are only for a month, the Novorapid tends to last me 2 months depending on how I'm eating and the Lantus only lasts 2 months. Right now that is working out to $70 a month on average for my supplies but when my benefits eventually run out it will be a lovely $170-$200 a month. Ugh.
At this point, I want to say that despite all this, I am grateful that I have benefits at all and even more grateful that I live in Canada where I pay for very little when it comes to getting medical care. I just don't understand how the average person affords this disease. I have a good job and make good money. I also work for the government which you would think would have a much better benefit plan than what it does. $1000 cap off per year for prescription drugs is peanuts when you have a chronic disease, but at least I have a benefits package. Sadly, many people do not. Last year I spent $2500 from February to December. But how does someone working an average paying job cover the costs of managing their diabetes? How can they afford not to?
Proper management of diabetes can reduce the risk of all kinds of complications that further add to the cost of a persons medical bills as well as the cost to the Canadian health care system. Therefore, it would make sense that the Canadian Government and the Manitoba Government provide more assistance to Canadians living with this disease as it is cheaper to assist someone with maintaining proper diabetes management rather than having to pay to treat the complications that will result from not managing it well.
I pulled some information from the Canadian Diabetes Association website:
"Compared to people without diabetes, people with diabetes were hospitalized at higher rates for:
- Heart attack
- Chronic kidney disease
- Lower limb amputations.
The strain on outpatient resources or in the primary care setting in Canada means that adults with diabetes have 2 times more visits to their family doctor and specialist for:
• Anxiety • Depression
• Retinopathy • Obesity • Neuropathy • Erectile dysfunction • Foot ulcers
Assuming that the costs of treating diabetes remain constant between 2000 to 2020, the direct costs of the disease, including direct treatment costs, and incremental costs of treating secondary complications associated with diabetes will rise from $1.1 billion annually (already 3.5% of public spending on healthcare) to $3.1 billion by 2020 "These numbers should be a wake up call for our Government. Manitoba has one of the highest rates of diabetes per capita and yet we only just received a juvenile insulin pump program in our province last year. Still no word on an adult insulin pump program. I'm still crossing my fingers because without a program like this, I would most likely not be able to afford to switch to a pump.
I want to be clear, I am not posting about this to make you feel sorry for me. I'm posting because sometimes I need to vent about this kind of thing and I also feel it's important to spread awareness about this issue.
At the end of the day, I can't afford not to spend whatever money is necessary to keep myself as healthy as possible.