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Re: [IP] cost of pumps

> Ok, assuming insurance WON"T cover the cost of a pump for whatever
> silly reason, does anyone know the actual cost of one out-of-pocket
> (cringe!) Penny

Round numbers about $4500 for the pump(s) and $300/mo for supplies.

HOWEVER, even if the insurance company says pumps are not covered, it 
is a big lie. The bad news is that these denials are all to common. 
The good news is that in 3 years of helping with these situations, 
I've yet to see one where coverage is not eventually provided. It is 
just and incredible hassle to jump through all the hoops. You must be 
prepared to be a permanent pain in the side of the insurance company. 

First -> get WRITTEN denial so you really have something to beat them
up with. If they balk, tell them plainly that you plan to appeal and
need the letter of denial.

Most insurance policys are written in a manner that says all normal
medical expenses are covered unless experimental or specifically
excluded. Since you are unable to negotiate the terms of the policy
and must accept what they provide for policy language, the courts have
taken a strict interpretation of the language to mean that if the
insurance company forgot to mention something, they are obligated to
provide it. Bottom line, pumps and supplies are covered unless there
is specific language to the contrary. You may have to appeal, you may
have to involve the insurance commissioners office or state department
of labor in the case of a union sponsored medical plan, but DON'T give
up, don't take no for an answer. If prescription diabetes supplies of
any kind are covered, then all the pump supplies are probably covered
as well as described above. 

There must be specific policy language written in your policy as the
basis for denial. Insulin Pumps and their supplies are conventional
therapy for diabetes that can be prescribed by any physician.

All that should be required for coverage is a prescription from your
physician and a letter of medical necessity The insurance company can
not contravene a doctors orders for treatment unless those orders are
patently unreasonable and inappropriate.

Heck, even Medicare covers pumps now.

Use the wooden leg story and stand up for your rights. A letter of
medical necessity "should" be all that is required. That doesn't mean
it will work, but you must address the legal issues of the the policy
language, age discrimination, etc.....

Good hbA1c's are an indication of a patient that works hard at
control and is a GOOD candidate for a pump, not the other way around.
They need to understand that (they do, but tell them again).

Good control improves with the use of a pump and will reduce 
overall long term health problems, costs, etc... see the hbA1c 
improvements on the about page of the web site.

Use the DCCT information (see the LINKS page). Your child's hbA1c's 
are still not good enough if you want to do a comparison (which is BS 
of course but useful non-the-less). The average hbA1c's for DCCT
participants was 7.2 as I recall. The majority of participants in the
DCCT switched to insulin pumps because tight control was easier to

A drop from 8.4 to the low 7's will mean a 50% reduction in the 
probability of complications of ALL kinds for your son. To the 
insurance company this is BIG $$. Consider this: I know a young woman
of 20 who has already had laser surgery to both eyes. There is another
young lady of 17 that is on ACE inhibitors because her kidneys leak
protein into her urine, she has had diabetes less than 5 years. I
don't mean to alarm you. Both of the cases sited are unusual and out
of the norm, but they do occur. The insurance company would like you
to believe they do not as a justification for denial of service. The
facts speak otherwise.

Address the quality of life issues, sick days, etc...
point out the rigid schedule, eating when not hungry, not eating when
hungry, problems with adolescence, etc... Mention the cost of ER
visits for low blood sugar epsiodes caused by long term insulins. Make
sure you GO to the ER for these problems. Might as well sock it to
'em. I know it is not convenient to do this, but it may be necessary
to motivate the insurance company.

Consider talking to your attorney and the insurance commissioners
office about the insurance company not living up to it's contractual
obligations to provide medical care for your child. Insulin pumps 
have been around for over 20 years. They standard treatment for 
diabetes care and represent the "gold standard" for such treatment. 
Is there a ligitimate reason for refusal of care that is 
contractually based?

At some point in time after you have been reasonably polite, start the
appeals process. Even if this process is denied, continue at that
point to contact the medical director for the insurance company and
re-start the process. You must use the "wooden leg" story, all the
economic arguments on reduced complications, cite the results from the
DCCT, etc... They'll eventually cave in. Keep up the faith, attack,
attack, attack.....

BTW, the wooden leg story is:  Postulate that you lose your leg in an
accident.  You contact your insurance company to arrange for coverage
of a prosthetic leg which is covered under durable medical equipment
and they deny coverage and mail you a wooden peg leg. Their argument
is that "you can get by with that". Question? Would you accept that
based on the policy language and your payment to them? Of course not!
The policy does not say they are required to provide you with a modern
prosthetic appliance, however, it IS common medical practice. There is
no difference with an Insulin Pump.

Many of the list members have faced similar problems and there MAY 
actually be someone who has the same insurance carrier. This has 
occured a couple of times already and proves most embarassing to the 
insurance company when someone they have denied can point to another 
policy holder that has been granted coverage. Even if this is not the 
case, you will find the support helpful. There will be many more 
ideas than the ones I have presented. Don't give up, you will win!

Michael Robinton
Executive Director
Insulin Pumpers

email @ redacted
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