Conundrum: Available Technology vs. Insurance Coverage

A friend and I were talking the other day–brainstorming, really–about the gap in technology that exists for diabetes testing and pump therapy, verses, well, anything else electronic. Sure, there’s a touch-screen insulin pump that will be available at some point, but you still have to connect that fancy little box up to a computer with a good old-fashioned USB cable. Where’s the wireless capability?

Why can my phone sync wirelessly with every single other device I own, but I still have to manually download data from our meters and pumps? Data that would be a lot more useful in real-time rather than a month later, or however often I can squeak out enough time to dig out my USB transmitter, log in to Medtronic.com (what were those passwords again?) and lasso my kids so they can stand right next to the computer.

And forget collecting glucometer data…our meters don’t come with the cord connector, you have to order that separately. (To be fair, I am aware that Medtronic’s own One-Touch Ultra meter relays BG numbers to the Medtronic pump for future data collection, but we’ve chosen not to use that meter–just personal preference.)

We came up with some great ideas for practical and elegant technology we’d love to use. And then I ran across this video this morning and remembered some of the realities of Health Care, and more specifically, of Health Insurance.

Insurance companies don’t usually like to pay for New and Different. I’ve lost several hours of my life on the phone with the insurance company, trying to win even minimal coverage of the test strips for a micro-sample meter system whose technology is already over 4 years old. And I’ve had to go through it every time we’ve ordered new supplies.

It’s frustrating. Just as I’m sure it was frustrating for the young lady in this video to find a new technology that would SIMPLIFY (and don’t we T1D families deserve some simplification?)  her testing and data collection, only to find it financially out-of-the-stratosphere-impossible.

In the near future I hope to see a couple of new developments on the diabetes front:

  • A system that incorporates testing technology with Smartphone communication. Maybe even one that also communicates with a pump. And someday, a complete closed loop CGM-pump system ( iDiabetes? Apple, I would be a devoted customer for LIFE.)
  • Insurance coverage for diabetes that actually keeps up with the rapidly developing technology and tools of Type 1 management.

That’s it for now.

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