Type 1s in the US dreading their 26th birthday

insuline supplies on the Diabetes Diet websiteSometimes a story pops up which serves as a timely reminder of how lucky we in the UK are (catastrophic, undemocratic political shenanigans which might lead to insulin shortages anyway notwithstanding)…

This week’s news feature that popped out to me was a BuzzFeed article about Millennial type 1s in the US, forced to come off their parents’ health insurance at the age of twenty-six. Insulin prices in the US tripled from 2002 to 2013 and a recent study found its average annual cost increased from $3,200 to $5,900 a year from 2012 to 2016. Unregulated capitalism—always a good thing, hmm?

Most Millennials, the article pointed out, have to contend with the long-felt after-effects of the 2008 financial crisis, debts left over from college or university and the gig economy where it is hard to get health insurance in the first place. Or there are jobs that don’t have insurance, the insurance doesn’t cover diabetes or the deductibles are so high, the insurance isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Rationing insulin

The reporter spoke with a number of twenty-six-year-olds forced into rationing insulin and using syringes and lancets repeatedly to try to keep costs down. One mentioned skipping meals so he didn’t need to take at least one dose a day, and another said her insurance didn’t cover the insulin she’d previously used. The one it sanctioned made her feel ill.

Why the age of twenty six? As the article states, outgrowing your parents’ health insurance has always been an issue for young adults with chronic health conditions. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 allowed them to stay on that insurance until they got to twenty-six—a universal deadline.

Even government-sponsored insurance is so “stupid expensive” one person quoted in the article said, it’s not worth it.

Different career path

And what about job choices? Again, those featured in the article spoke about sacrificing what they really wanted to do for a job or career path that offered sufficient financial reward or great insurance in order to get the life-saving medication they need.

Twenty-five-year old Allie Marotta told BuzzFeed she fears the approaching deadline.

“Being postgrad, figuring out your career,” she said, “all of that is crazy to begin with, and then adding the layer of worry about medical stuff and having it be a life-or-death situation, literally a life-or-death situation all the time.

“It shouldn’t be this hard. You see other countries doing it and it’s not this hard. There’s no reason for this to be the way that it is.”

5 thoughts on “Type 1s in the US dreading their 26th birthday”

  1. For most int he US there is a safety net called medicaid It is not the best, but for very low income persons it will work post 26. Since we have an employer based system most professional employers offer a form of health insurance. Those who are the worst off are the working poor and lower middle class. The vast majority of of young people fall in this classification.

    Here is the thing, here are advantages. We have plentiful supplies of material and all resources. But we pay for those luxuries. I will not defend our system, I think the UK and Canada have competition in some ways. I wish we could get ourselves better regulated and find ways for people to live without beg borrowing and sometimes stealing. But 26 is not terrible thing. When I got married at 19 I lost my parents healthcare. It was over. Sheryl and I found a way. It was difficult but we made it. At 26, most people will survive. And yes it is scary. But so would be 40 or 50 or 70. Just like 19 was like falling off the cliff. But we made it.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.