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Getting an insulin pump – what’s involved?

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After four years in the making and one year on a loan pump, I can finally say that I have my own insulin pump! There are times where I am frustrated at the process involved with obtaining an insulin pump. Diabetes technology which improves not only diabetes management but also quality of life should be affordable and accessible by everyone with diabetes. Here’s what is involved:

Diabetes Healthcare Professional Team

Without the support of your endocrinologist and diabetes nurse educator, you can kiss your chances at an insulin pump goodbye. There are many reasons why your diabetes team may recommend you to try an insulin pump ranging from better diabetes management to the flexibility it offers. However, an insulin pump is also hard work. Your team will need to be confident that you are able to carb counting and be diligent with your diabetes care in doing regular site changes and testing your blood glucose (BG) levels regularly before giving you the ok. An insulin pump will only be as beneficial as the amount of work you put into it.

Private Health Insurance

Insulin pumps cost between $7,750 to $9,500. So unless you are able to afford the cost of these babies outright, you will most likely be looking at getting private health insurance to cover the cost of it. An insulin pump is classified as a prosthetic according to private health insurances and is typically covered by basic hospital level cover. However, each fund may have different policies when it comes to upgrading an insulin pump, which is usually every four or five years. If you’re getting private health insurance for the first time, ask about the waiting periods that apply before they will fund your pump as this could range between 12 months to five years! Most insulin pump companies also offer a loan pump for up to 12 months during this time.

JDRF also offer insulin pump subsidies for children with type 1 diabetes under the age of 18 years depending on family income. Check out the Insulin Pump Programme page via the JDRF website for more information.

National Diabetes Service Scheme (NDSS)

The National Diabetes Service Scheme also provides subsidies for insulin pump consumables such as infusion sets and reservoirs. However this is only for people with type 1 diabetes and women with gestational diabetes. Therefore for those who are ineligible for the subsidies, like people with type 2 diabetes, the cost of these consumables would average $250 a month. With subsidies, consumables would cost around $25 per month.

These are just a few things to think about and consider when looking into getting an insulin pump. For me, being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes held a few barriers in itself before I even began dealing with private health insurance. But I would have battled it all again if it means getting diabetes to fit into my life and not the other way around!

Diabetes Australia – Victoria have also developed a fantastic resource that goes through what you need to know about insulin pumps before you get them in more detail. Check out Understanding Insulin Pumps.

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Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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