I was watching the news recently and saw a story about people who have to make critical life and death decisions because of unreasonable healthcare policies. It was inhumane, seeing that many individuals have to choose to either not eat or not give themselves as much insulin as they require so as to extend the life of the medication to get them to their next refill. The fact that an insurance company would make the decision to cover only a certain amount of medication and not what the doctor prescribes is unconscionable.
I recently received a letter from my insurance company that as of January 1, 2018, my Novolog insulin was no longer being covered and that I would now need to take Humalog. I’m sorry, what? I now need to take Humalog? Would you believe that not one person on the board that made that call was an endocrinologist, you know, someone who knows a thing or two about diabetes? Of course you would believe it, because that is the world we are living in. If there was just one expert who was part of making that decision, he could have said, um, guys, you know that Novolog and Humalog are not interchangeable, right? Sure, they are both fast-acting insulins, but interchangeable, no. I called my insurance company and they told me I would have to try Humalog, but if it didn’t work, I would need a letter of medical necessity stating the need for Novolog. Great, that was easy. “So, Novolog will be covered then if it is deemed medically necessary?” I asked. I was told that it would indeed be covered, at a cost. Because Humalog is the one on the insurance formulary, I would need to pay a much higher co-pay for the brand that my body requires to stay alive. Well isn’t that just slap your momma fantastic!
How did insurance companies get this kind of power? When did doctors lose their voices in deciding what THEIR patients’ needs are? I never, ever considered myself someone who could rally and fight for things. I always quietly stayed in the shadows, waiting for things to be done. Guess what happens when you wait for things to get done? Anyone? Bueller? Ok then, here it is. Things don’t get done. When I saw that story about those who actually had to choose between food and insulin, something happened to me. Some deeply hidden fire was lit inside me. Some people can’t fight for themselves, so we need to come together to fight for them.
I am excited to be attending my first JDRF TypeOne Nation Summit in Pittsburgh next month. I am hoping to widen my network of diabetes experts to learn what I can be doing to lend my voice to this important cause. If you or a loved one has T1D, please share your stories of how you have suffered at the hands of greedy insurance companies. I would like to compile these stories, our stories, to fight for the gross injustice of these money hungry giants!