Jen: Coverage for a Chronic Illness

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm grateful every single minute of every day that type 1 diabetes is a manageable condition! I'm so happy that when they told me his diagnosis, it was accompanied by the hope of a long, healthy lifespan with few limitations as to what he could do.

That said, treating type 1 diabetes does cost money. When James was first diagnosed, my husband and I were in a very unusual position in our lives. We had met, married, and had careers. Then we had a baby, and then we went back to school! As a result, we carried the absolute least expensive health insurance plan that we could. We had an ultra-high deductible, surmising that the two of us would rarely get sick and that we could afford to pay for "the baby," should he fall ill. We just wanted to be covered in the case of a catastrophic accident or illness. Well, I'm not sure that diabetes qualifies as catastrophic, but it can be expensive.

When Craig graduated and found a job, it wasn't a full-time position, and we were worried! However, even though he was a contractor, his company did offer an insurance plan. We enrolled without even batting an eye. The great thing was that while the cost of the premiums was high, the coverage was AWESOME. It was an HMO, and the things I was most concerned with, our biggest costs, were covered at very reasonable rates. Even better, when the contracting position became full time, we were excited to see that this same health insurance plan was available again, only this time, significantly subsidized by my husband's employer! We are so grateful for the excellent cost savings this plan affords.

There are, however, a few things that we still have to spend on. One expense is an item that I've never had to use but that we'll never be without—treatment for severe low blood sugar. And, try as I might, I can't seem to get my health savings account to cover juice and candy for treating moderate lows, despite the fact that we all know they are absolute essentials!

Still, we know that we're some of the lucky ones, because not only do we have the tools to care for diabetes, but we can afford them too. I suppose that if the discovery of insulin was the first great wave in the development of diabetes treatment, the second would be getting it and all the other great tools to all the children in the world who suffer from this disease. That is what our family is hoping for!


About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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