The Cost of Living with Diabetes
I think about the cost of living with diabetes. A lot. Moreso as I get older. When I think about building financial security for myself, my number one motivator is to make sure that I will be able to meet the costs of living with diabetes today, and into the future. Which don’t come cheap.
FreeStyle Libre Sensors: $1,140
I currently wear a FreeStyle Libre in a 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off pattern. Because a) it’s expensive, b) I don’t want to become too reliant on one if I can’t afford it in the future and c) I become too overwhelmed with the data after wearing one for too long.
1 sensor sets me back a cool $92.50. Let’s assume I use around 12 per year, which adds up to $1,140 per year. Admittedly, this is a luxury that I could do without if need be.
Test Strips: $476
I would go through at least 15 test strips to monitor my blood sugar each day for the 26 weeks of the year that I’m not wearing a FreeStyle Libre sensor.
That’s 2,730 test strips a year.
Or 28 boxes of 100 test strips a year.
A box of test strips will set me back $17, which costs me a beautiful $476 each year.
Insulin pump infusion sets: $217.10
I would change the infusion set on my insulin pump every three days. Let’s assume that the 4 week pump break I have taken in the past 12 months, where I wasn’t using infusion sets, will cancel out the cost of infusion sets that have failed on me or lasted less than three days.
Thats a total of 122 infusion sets each year.
Or 13 boxes of 10 sets per year.
A box of infusion sets will set me back $16.70, which totals a fantastic $217.10 a year.
Insulin pump cartridges: $111
I’m replacing the insulin cartridge in my pump once every four days since starting on the t:slim (where cartridges aren’t as easily reusable).
That’s 92 cartridges per year.
Or 10 boxes of 10 cartridges per year.
A box of cartridges sets me back $11.10, which adds up to a cool $111 each year.
Rapid acting insulin: $79
A 3ml cartridge of NovoRapid insulin lasts me roughly 7 days.
That’s 52 cartridges a year.
Or two scripts per year, each containing five boxes of five NovoRapid cartridges.
A script of NovoRapid penfill cartridges sets me back $39.50, which is a cheap as chips $79 per year.
Long acting insulin: $19.75
I use an insulin pump, which means that I only use rapid acting insulin. However, I like to keep long acting insulin on hand in the fridge in case a) my pump dies or b) I’m ready to throw it at a wall and need to go back to injections for the sake of my sanity.
A script of long acting insulin will set me back $39.50.
The insulin has a shelf life of two years, which comes in at a cool 50% off, setting me back $19.75 per year.
Private Health Insurance: $996
I wouldn’t want to be without a private health insurance policy. It covers the cost of any hospital visits, treatment, as well as rebates on other services such as dental and optical. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind, as well as the $9,000 insulin pump that was fully covered under my policy in 2016!
I pay $83 per month, which comes in at just under a cool 1k, or $996 per year.
General Practitioner: $32
I’ve visited my GP four times in the past year. When I’m not feeling well, if I’m in need of a more potent drug, a doctor’s note or a fresh script of insulin inbetween endo visits. Or if I’m dying.
After a Medicare rebate, I’m usually left to pay $8 out of pocket, which adds up to an awesome $32 per year.
Hypo Treatment: $40
My go-to treatment for hypos are Skittles.
I buy them in party buckets.
I would buy four party buckets a year.
A party bucket sets me back $10, which totals a nice $40 a year.
Diabetes care: Free
I’m currently accessing all of my diabetes care at the diabetes outpatient clinic in a public hospital, which is completely free thanks to the Medicare system in Australia. Sometimes the wait times are long, and the continuity of care isn’t always there, but it’s free. I’m pretty switched on and well connected with my diabetes today, so that is enough for now.
My annual eye and foot examinations and are also bulk billed through Medicare, even though I access these privately, leaving me with no out of pocket expenses.
Grand Total – $3,110.85
I could assign a dollar value to the sum of all of these various costs associated with living with diabetes, and whinge about how I’m sacrificing coffees or Spotify subscriptions or overseas travel.
However, the real price tag on all of the above is my life.
Without insulin, test strips, needles, hospitals or healthcare (to name a few), I would not be here today to tell the tale.
Sadly, this is still a reality for many who don’t have the privilege of being born into countries as lucky as ours.
You’ve more thank likely heard of the Spare a Rose campaign going through the diabetes community at the moment, so I’m just going to leave this very self explanatory graphic here.
Your donation will enable Life for a Child to provide life saving insulin to a child in need for a month, as well as support ongoing efforts to provide blood glucose monitoring and diabetes education to children in 42 different countries.
Please consider making a donation this month by simply hovering your cursor over these words, and spread the word around.