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The Costs of a Chronic Illness

It’s day two of Diabetes Blog Week, and today we talk about the costs of living with a chronic illness.

Today’s prompt:  The Cost of a Chronic Illness
Insulin and other diabetes medications and supplies can be costly.  Here in the US, insurance status and age (as in Medicare eligibility) can impact both the cost and coverage.  So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care.  Do you have advice to share?  For those outside the US, is cost a concern?  Are there other factors such as accessibility or education that cause barriers to your diabetes care?

Today’s prompt is timely, as the costs of living with diabetes have been a hot button issue as of late.  The costs of insulin and other supplies just keep rising and there’s no end to that in sight.  And there’s nothing but finger pointing going on between the big pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and prescriptions benefit managers, while patients are left with making difficult choices in order to get the life saving medications that they need.  It’s maddening and needs to stop.  But when will it?

I know that I’m fortunate to have the insurance coverage that I do through my employer.  I’d be dead without it.  But I’m still left struggling to pay for everything that I need most months.  The chart below is offers a glimpse of what my diabetes medications and supplies cost each month.  It’s broken down by cost without insurance, by what my insurance company pays, and by what I pay in copays.

Monthly Diabetes Medication/Supply Costs

I recently added a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor to my diabetes tool box.  There were upfront costs for that, and there will be ongoing monthly costs as well.  Here’s a look at that:

Dexcom Cost breakdown
Dexcom G5 Mobile Transmitter – $984.60

Dexcom Receiver – $156.71

Dexcom G4 Platinum sensors – $319.20 ($106.40 per box of 4.  x 3 months).

Total out of pocket cost:  $1,460.52

Not included are the costs for lancets, glucose tabs, alcohol prep wipes, Tegaderm and opsite flexifix, and any other supply that I’m forgetting.

And these are just the month expenses for managing my diabetes.  This doesn’t even account for the expenses related to managing the congestive heart failure, PTSD, asthma, acid reflux, sleep apnea, etc… that are also included in my collection of awful chronic illnesses.

I could rant about the financial side of this all day.

But the costs aren’t just financial…

My chronic illnesses cost me so much more than money.

How much time have I lost to checking my blood glucose multiple times a day?  To the multiple daily injections of insulin that I take? Those minutes add up.  And that’s not to mention the mental anguish of stabbing yourself with needles all the time.  Good grief.

How many hours have I lost sorting all of the oral medications that I take each day? It’s a necessary evil, but I hate it so much.

How many special moments have I missed with family and friends because I just wasn’t well enough to be there?  Too many.

How much sleep have I lost to fears that my heart would give out in the middle of the night?  I’ve lost count.

How many times have I considered suicide because it’s all become too much to handle? More than you want to know.

And speaking of family and friends…

What have my chronic illnesses cost them?  Heartache, worry, grief, money, and memories.  And so much more.  Because I’m not the only one living with them.  Their lives are touch by them as well.

That’s the hardest part of life with chronic illnesses…

It costs too fucking much!

To read what others have written about the cost of living with a chronic illness, visit the link list @ The Cost of a Chronic Illness – Tuesday 5/16




Living with a Confusing Pancreas and a Broken Heart at age 36 #Diabetes #LADA #CongestiveHeartFailure. #MakeDiabetesVisible Creator, #ALittleHeartCanDoBigThings Creator, Advocate, Blogger, Nature Photographer.


  • Corinna

    All of those non-financial costs do add up. No one thinks about how we can’t just turn chronic illness off for a little while between treatments. It’s always there. It’s always on our mind. Costing us mental bandwidth.

  • Trip Stoner

    Exactly Mike. It is much more than the expense of the supplies. It is the “other” that takes the toll to a much higher price.

    Nicely done my friend.