About a month before Valerie’s son’s 9th birthday, he was complaining a lot of being thirsty, and needing to pee a lot. As is common for little’s boys, Dusty missed the bowl sometimes when urinating, and Valerie remembers his urine being so high in sugar that it made the bowl sticky.
Valerie’s family has no history of diabetes, and Dusty had no markers of it at birth. But when his pediatrician tested his blood, he was sent immediately to a children’s hospital for exceptionally high blood sugar. Thankfully he didn’t even need to spend the night on that visit.
Dusty is now 14 and insulin-dependent, and as he grows, so does his needed dosage. “His insulin needs are constantly rising and each time I have to fill a prescription it is about $500,” said Valerie.
“Even though the state of Colorado instituted a $100 cap per month on insulin this doesn’t apply to us because our employer self-funds the insurance they offer us so with our high deductible plan we have to pay the full amount unless we hit our deductible and then we will still have to pay.”
Most insulin-dependent kids Dusty’s age are on pumps, but that wasn’t originally an option for him. He’ll be part of a study this year which will provide him with a pump at no charge, after which Valerie is considering getting him one.
In order to try and keep their costs down, Valerie has bought supplies off of social media. She recently bought expired test strips from a woman a 40 minute drive away, who left outside for Valerie to pick up.
“I fear for when my son is a young adult and no longer on our insurance. How will he afford this? You hear about people dying because they can’t afford their insulin. It is a maintenance medication for a type 1 diabetic yet it doesn’t get treated as such. Why is my blood pressure medication free as a maintenance drug but not his insulin. He can’t live without it. Not taking it is a death sentence and will lead to major complications and hospitalizations. Insulin costs have skyrocketed even though they aren’t that much different than what was available 20 years ago. It is all pure greed on the part of the pharmaceutical companies.”