Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Heart Insurance.

My diabetes supplies are everywhere.

Pump caps adorn every stationary surface. Sometimes the cats trot off with them in their mouth and then play versions of Cat Hockey on the kitchen floor. Stray testing strips litter the floor of my apartment, my desk at work, and my boyfriend’s car. Once he woke up with one stuck to his face from my 3 am testing.

I gently peeled it off and threw it away before he could notice.

The bathroom cabinet, purchased exclusively to house diabetes supplies, holds no less than $6,000 worth of goods. There are several boxes of infusion sets, pump reservoirs, IV prep wipes, and countless blood meter test strips. Two Quick-Serters for the infusion sets are wedged in between boxes of infusion sets. I have a One Touch Ultra Smart meter that I use everyday, but there are three back up meters stored in the cabinet. There are also back up boxes of strips, each test strip costing about a dollar. Lancets are everywhere. The crappy meter that came with my Paradigm 512 pump is thrown in there, too. A stash of AAA batteries for the pump and AA for the meter lie on the second shelf. Also, my old Humalog 1.5 pen (which I had run over twice with my old car and it survived to tell the tale) and the accompanying needle tips are hiding in the cabinet, too. And boxes upon boxes of short needle syringes are lying in wait for those moments when the pump fails me.

Oh, and lest we forget the abundance of the coveted glucose tabs.

I used to take stock of my supplies and not think about their monetary value. I was covered by my parents’ health insurance and they picked up the balance of anything owed. Then, all of a sudden, I graduated college and the burden of health insurance was mine to bear. That was 2001.

Since that May, I’ve worked in the following fields: Banking, car repair (admittedly random, yes), arbitration, and insurance.

Out of those employment opportunities, I’ve found satisfaction in: None.

What I would actually like to involve myself in doesn’t appear to be able to finance my diabetes habit. Anything in the realm of publishing, freelancing, PR, and marketing either isn’t available in my immediate area of RI or doesn’t offer medical insurance. I oftentimes find myself bored and miserable at work because the job does nothing to stimulate my synapses, but I won’t up and quit because I can’t afford my medical supplies without insurance.

Cyclical indeed.

Couple that cycle with the fact that my current insurance sports an obscene deductible before they’ll kick in and I’m working at a job I despise to pay for a disease I don’t particularly want. And since my entry into the work force four years ago, medical insurance costs more and covers less.

I sense a frightening trend that I fear could affect my ability to provide the supplies necessary for my disease.

Today's Pity Party is sponsored by Kerri's Boring Job and the daunting insurance bill waiting to be paid on her desk at home.

Good thing I have Eddie Izzard to lift my spirits.


At January 17, 2006 1:38 PM, Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

At January 17, 2006 1:40 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Wow! I know how you feel. I often think about getting another job. The job I have now offers excellent health insurance so it is a no brainer- I can't get another job unless I have the same coverage which would be tough. I feel lucky to have what I have now. Two insulins, the syringes and the lancets would probably total around $500/month. Thankfully, because of co-pays, I pay around $70/month. The price of those strips, really ticks me off though - there is no need for them to be that much except for the companies to make a HUGE profit off what we HAVE to have.

At January 17, 2006 1:45 PM, Blogger Tekakwitha said...


Blasted insurance! It's my biggest fear holding me back from going to massage school. Even when I get certified I'd still have to continue working full time at my current job for the health benefits. *sigh*

Also, I just listened to the show you were on. Great job! And you know, I've always wanted an excuse to visit the northeast in the fall...


At January 17, 2006 2:12 PM, Blogger Vivian said...

Right there with ya. Not only do we have Daniel's D supplies but hubby's meds are around $1300 a month before insurance. Since our move we are on Cobra until work covers us with insurance, so we are paying $1000 a month for the cobra. Just seems like it never ends.

I am so sorry you feel like your options are being stolen from you, it is just not right. Here is hoping that new doors open(to fully furnished rooms). =)

At January 17, 2006 2:13 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Dear Blue Cross of California Spammer - How the hell did you get past my comment verification? Drat.

Laura - This is one expensive disease, as we all know. And those stupid test strips are enormously marked up... hang on while I wait for Wil to come tell me to sell all my strips... :)

Tek - Blasted insurance indeed. But thanks for saying that I didn't sound like a st-st-stuttering fool on the podcast. Stay tuned for my next installment re: exercise.

And you don't need an excuse to come east in the fall. Although you have people (read: me and Chris) willing to party with you upon your arrival, trust me!

At January 17, 2006 2:17 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Vivian - Thanks ... although I feel badly that others are in this position, too. I wish things were easier on all of us. But I don't view it as Options Stolen, rather Forced Creativity. I.e., instead of ordering more supplies, I see what Joslin studies I can participate in to score free stuff.


Oh Minimed, don't you want to hire me?

At January 17, 2006 2:19 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

OH yes, health insurance woes.

My husband would love to go to contract/consulting work as his computer geek self (software engineer), but both of our needs for good health insurance prevent him from leaving his job with excellent health coverage. Luckily, he doesn't completely hate his job and luckily, he avoided getting laid off twice from his big corporation.

I am pickypickypicky about job opportunities for myself. See, I went back to school a couple years ago before my own diagnoses for nursing pre-requisites. While I was taking classes, I received my two diagnoses last year. I have changed paths a bit with my future career and still have no idea if I'll go to grad school for what I have decided. In the meantime, I need to get back to working, hopefully at a job where I can get good-to-excellent health insurance so that my husband can go off and pursue other opportunities.

It is so frustrating and very few of our friends understand.

At January 17, 2006 2:37 PM, Blogger Tekakwitha said...


I'm an idiot. I *meant* to mention visiting in the fall to join team Six Until Me for the fall walk! But I'd also love to go out east and party with you and Chris as well. :)

At January 17, 2006 2:39 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Hopefully Chris and I will be settled into our new NY apartment by the date of the walk, but the RI JDRF Walk is on October 15th and there will be a raucous gathering that night, especially if there are d-bloggers in the proverbial house.

Game on.

At January 17, 2006 2:43 PM, Blogger Nicole P said...

Grrr... Where did my comment go?

I had left you a note, Kerri, to say that I have some supplies left over from my 511 days that I'd like to turn over to you if you want them. I left a message on your voice mail. Call me if you'd like to arrange a delivery. I can be your new supplier.

At January 17, 2006 2:49 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...


I rec'd your vmail and would most certainly like to take you up on your offer. What kind of infusion sets did you use? I'm using the Quick Sets and the 1.75 unit reservoirs.

I would have called you back, but the people who work close to me in this Cubicle Farm already think I'm a drug dealer and maybe a bookie, after hollering at my medical insurance company and then the bastards at my car dealership, throwing out terms like "make me a deal," "earn my loyalty," and "if you think I'm going to fall for your little smoke and mirrors show, well ... [insert threat here]."

Why am I on blood pressure medication? I forget.

I will give you a ring after work today, around 5:00, if that's cool.

At January 17, 2006 3:22 PM, Blogger Nicole P said...

I think I have some quicksets and some softsets... And the attendant inserters... I was somewhat indecisive about what I really wanted to use -- I don't remember what size reservoirs (canulas)... I'm pretty sure they're all pretty standard -- I never took a whole lot of insulin so they're probably in line....

And those frigging spammers piss me of... A pox on blue cross of california and their ilk.

Call me at work... What you may have to do though is call and leave me a message and I'll call you right back -- you see -- I can't get calls unless they go through the front desk -- and those folks leave at 4:30... Soooo... I always feel a bit ghetto after hours.

At January 17, 2006 3:24 PM, Blogger Nicole P said...

What the heck? My comment's paragraphs got all rerodered...

At January 17, 2006 5:30 PM, Blogger Jen said...

Hi Kerrie.
I have been a lurker for some time. I got up courage one day to start a D- related blog, but not the courage to tell everyone about it. I guess I'm feeling brave today, because I'm signing this comment using my blogger name. Insurance is something that scares me. I am still covered 80% under my parents insurance, and the rest by another insurance. I am scared to death of what is going to happen when I graduate and loose my insurance. I am going into the field of nursing, and am choosing to be naive in thinking that that means I will have great insurance.
Thanks for such a great blog!

At January 17, 2006 5:46 PM, Anonymous Caro said...

Hi Kerri,

Every time I read something like this, it reminds me to be thankful for what we have here in the UK.

Sure, it can take one hell of a fight to persuade the NHS that you deserve to have them pay for a pump for you, but once you've convinced them, it's all free. Test strips, insulins, syringes and the works are also all available free on prescription - everyone on meds for diabetes is entitled to all medications, regardless of what they are for, free.

Nobody has to stay in a job they don't like just because it has good insurance.

Not a week passes in the UK without someone in the media laying into the NHS and highlighting its shortcomings. Believe me there are plenty, from inefficiency and waiting times, to variabilty by where you live (so called post-code prescribing.)At the end of the day though, if you are ill or injured you'll be taken care of.

People in the UK should remember how lucky we are.

P.S Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for your comment!

At January 17, 2006 5:49 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Hey Jen,
Thanks for de-lurking. I would like to see your d-blog but it's not viewable from your profile. If you're not ready to share it with everyone just yet, would you be willing to email the link to me? I promise not to divulge your URL until you're good and ready.


At January 17, 2006 6:15 PM, Blogger diabeticfeed said...

Amen, sister!
I believe that my life would be very different if I didn't need health insurance, as I am sure many others would as well...
I moved back to the States after my undergraduate degree because I couldn't be without health insurance. I have passed on life-enriching opportunities because I couldn't be without health insurance.
I have kept slogging away at jobs I hated because...sing it with me, everyone...I couldn't be without health insurance.

And you put exactly how I feel in words.

And heck, we're coming up to New England in October...I hear there's a party at Kerri's and Chris's house. :)

At January 17, 2006 8:40 PM, Blogger Penny said...

Yep, Riley is under my husband's insurance, so he feels a little stuck in his job, so Riley can keep the insurance.

Jen, I'm a nurse, and so sorry to tell you, you are not guaranteed good health insurance because of that. But, you can get in good with some Drs. and they'll renew prescriptions and stuff without a paid office visit. So, there may be some perks.

At January 17, 2006 8:51 PM, Blogger itesseract said...

Just what I needed to read after having a fight with my pharmacy about how they f*cked up my new prescriptions (anyone want two boxes of BD Ultra Fine 1cc 30 gauge needles? ...cuz they sent me the wrong ones!). The highlight of the conversation was the pharmacist telling me that 2 vials of Lantus constituted a 100 day supply because at the 15 units per day that I'm taking, 1 vial should last me 77 days...except that insulin vials are only good for 28 days after opening...ACCORDING TO THE COMPANY!

Anyway, what I really meant to post is that I met Eddie Izzard last year at the Tribeca Film Fest in NY. Sadly, not in drag...but still pretty cool (and in a powder blue tuxedo).

At January 17, 2006 9:16 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Jana - Trying to ... catch ... my breath. You met Eddie Izzard? I officially think you are, hands down, My Personal Hero.

The bit about the plumber ... "What do you do? You're a plumber? What on Earth is that?" from Dress to Kill has me laughing from the belly every time.

Gosh, I love him. Almost as much as L. Bird. But definitely more than crappy health insurance. (See how we've come full circle?)

At January 17, 2006 10:51 PM, Blogger Nicole P said...


I've looked at what I've got. I've got over 50 1.8 unit reservoirs and over 50 sof-set infusion sets, plus another 15 silhouette infusion sets. I thought I had the sof-serter inserter around here somewhere, but I can't seem to find it... They do have them on the Minimed site for $24.95. The infusion sets would probably last you at least a couple of months though -- so, if you'd like them they're around... As far as the Silhouette infusion sets; those you don't need an inserter to use... We can chat tomorrow to see if you're still interested.

Talk soon.

At January 18, 2006 11:37 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

Jeff's insurance covers 100% of Brendon's pump and supplies, we pay a co-pay of $20 every 3 months for insulin and the rest of his supplies and I am soooo grateful.

My dad's cousin's son has type 1 and is on his own (he's 19 now). His insurance doesn't cover squat, so he goes shopping on eBay for pump supplies and testing supplies that people don't want.

So I know how grateful you are for your insurance, but I also realize the pitfalls of switching jobs while have a chronic EXPENSIVE condition.

It's a shame you have to feel trapped at your job because of losing the great insurance you have.

I have a feeling you'll find a fantastic job with the benefits you need. It'll happen.

At January 18, 2006 11:48 AM, Blogger julia said...

Kerri - I feel your pain on the health insurance. It's a crock of shit, all of it. It drives me mad that I have to fight with the insurance company Every. Single. Time in order to get 10 test strips a day ok'd. It's ridiculous. If the doctor ordered that, then fucking FILL it. Don't question the medical expert, you stupid paper-pusher! Gah!

But dood! I did not know you had the Eddie Izzard bug! I can just about recite Dress To Kill forwards and backwards. It makes me cry with laughter.
"Cake or death?"
"Um, cake please."
"Well all right! Give him cake."
"Cake or death?"
"I'll have cake too, please."
"Well, we're all OUT of cake."
"So my choices are OR death?"

Heh. The man is a genius. In a dress. With FABulous makeup. (There really should have been an Emperor Fabulous.)

At January 18, 2006 11:55 AM, Blogger Kerri. said...

"Thank you for flying Church of England. Cake or death?"

I. Love. Him.

At January 18, 2006 12:01 PM, Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey Kerri!

Isn't insurance frustrating. It's such a double edged sword. Something we couldn't very well survive without, but something that seems to cost more and cover less all the time. Not to mention all the hoops we sometimes have to jump through to get what we need.

Isn't fighting diabetes on a daily basis enough?

I think it will get worse before it gets better, but I do think the storm will pass. Let's all just stick together, use all of Wil's extra test strips, and weather the storm!


At January 18, 2006 2:27 PM, Blogger julia said...

I knew I liked you for a reason. Wonderful diabetes blog? Yeah, sure. Red Sox fan? Always nice. Worships at the shrine of Izzard? Perfect.

Tell me that that Yankees fan you live with appreciates him, too.

At January 18, 2006 2:32 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

My Yankees fan boyfriend actually introduced me to the wonders of Eddie Izzard. Consider him saved.

"I grew up in Europe. Where the history comes from."

At January 18, 2006 4:10 PM, Blogger SUPERMOM said...

You really hit a big sore spot with many of us huh! We have been blessed with having Carylanne's supplies paid for up until now. Only I had to fight to get what we needed but in the end they have been paid for. However with Dave leaving the service, not of his own accord we are faced with the scary aspect of needing to find health insurance and not knowing what it will cost for everything. I can relate with having to work a job you dislike just for the insurance. I think the army has been that job these last 4 years. I have got my monies worth from them as we have been stocking up. But could only get so much out of them. Not that I didn't try to really push the envelope. We will have 6 months of insurance after discharge. After that who knows. Scares me to death. Then when Carylanne grows up she will be in the same boat as all of you. Sigh... This disease sucks!!!

At January 18, 2006 5:55 PM, Blogger Allison said...

Just another to add to my list of reasons why I should become a fifth-year senior.

At January 18, 2006 7:08 PM, Blogger mytime79 said...

I wish this stuff is free... I'm almost broke and paying for insulin (even if not the full amount) is killing me right now. I have to say that the part in your blog about test strips all over the place is something I can completely relate to. I can definitely tell where I've been in a day (or two days) by following the track of test strips that happen to fall out of my little black pack.

At January 18, 2006 11:15 PM, Blogger Wil said...

Amen. My test strip co-pay is now at $120 per month and Blue Cross has just rasied my rates another 80 bucks per month.

I started to calculate what percentage of my annaul income goes to the Big D, but before I could finish it was looking like an officialy scary percentage so I chickened out. (More or less fully 1/3 of my income).

At January 19, 2006 2:44 PM, Anonymous gina said...

Kerri you are moving to NY?

At January 19, 2006 2:50 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...


Yes, Chris and I are moving jsut outside of NYC this summer. I mentioned that a while ago!



At January 19, 2006 10:08 PM, Blogger Lyrehca said...


For the person who calculated how much their medical supplies cost, there's a way that medical expenses can be deducted from your taxes if they constitute a certain percentage of your income (I can't remember if it's a third or a fourth, something like that). Check it out with an accountant come tax time, and perhaps you'll end up a bit better come April 15.

At January 26, 2006 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

been searching this blog for anyone who does extreme sports like sky diving, rock climbing, bungee jumping, stuff like that. do any of us do that sort of thing?

At December 13, 2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous Ken T. said...

Hi there. I was "googling" diabetes related stuff and stumbled into your blog. Very nice. Thought I would make a contribution though. You mentioned that your testing strips cost $1 each. I've been getting them on Ebay for an average of $0.33 each (shipping figured into it) since I was diagnosed early this year. Beats the price I can get them with insurance and co-pays...

Of course it depends on the brand you use and such, but give it a try and good luck!


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