Diabetes Blog week: Medical debt && Why it should count as my “big purchase”


This is my first year participating in Diabetes Blog Week created by Karen of  Bittersweet Diabetes. So of course im joining on the fourth day with day 2’s prompt. But like a great friend one hash tagged me #LadyLateIsOurLifestyle. 😘 I still think this is important information to share with other diabetics && an important community building activity to try && take part in. (Even if I’m not the timeliest..)

Tuesday 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 can impact both the cost and coverage. So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care.

So I want to take this prompt in a slightly different direction. (I know shocking, Erin not great at following directions!) Since all my genius DOC bloggers have covered many important issues on how cost impacts diabetes care, including some amazing posts on the non fiscal cost of diabetes. Read my friend What Sarah Said’s post on loosing our friend Ish: The Cost of Diabetes

But I’m going to discuss how the fiscal cost of diabetes care has affected the rest of my fiscal life. Now if you regularly follow my blog or know me outside of my double ampersand persona than you know I am not your typical diabetic. Now I don’t believe in normal. And like they say, Your Diabetes May (&& definitely WILL) Vary. But my story is more like your diagnosis will vary. Type 1 diabetes is not where the chronic dairy stopped with her many blessings. By the time I graduated from high school I was a Type 1 diabetic with epilepsy && a bona fide and roaring eating disorder, a nasty battle with Diabulimia that had led to many hospitalizations and the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy in my feet. By the time I graduated college I had added PCOS, and severe gasteoparesis to that diagnosis list. The severe GP landed me in the hospital several dozens of times. 

My diabetes and that roaring eating disorder of mine had both gotten under control. But the stay in an eating disorder treatment center (Pre Obama Care && the passage of the mental health parity law) drained my parents of my college savings. Not to mention all the money one doesn’t  plan on spending on your two small children when you hold them in your arms not knowing that one day soon they’ll both be diagnosed T1D. 

I struggled for years – many more than the average college stay – due to attempting to get a higher education in between hospitalization stays && surgeries. Four to count. But I refused to give up. I walked across the stage at Seattle University tears streaming down my face && a Thanks Mom painted on my cap, knowing like many chronically ill kids I never could have done this without her. 

But I left school with much more college debt than I was expecting due to staying for so many extra years && spending my afore mentioned savings on treatment. I also aged off my parents insurance during this time. I bought insurance on the Marketplace, created by Obamacare. A system that only exists for people like me, independent contractors or those that work at small companies because our last president is not insistent on killing a large percentage of his constituents. (Please dear god Sir, come back!!)

Even though I have never been without insurance I have been hospitalized several dozens of times. Each of those trips is a 10,000$ trip. There are medications, lab fees, tricks and tips that insurance is liferallly updating constantly to get out of paying as much as possible. Leaving that medical debt squarely on my shoulders. To date I have paid out tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt since turning 18. 

But when I went with my boyfriend less than a month ago for him to buy a car I got an earful on my credit because I didn’t have any “big purchases” among all the other issues. See student && medical debt listed earlier. But how is it that I have friends who have blown their money buying new cars or ATV’s and it’s been a boon to their credit but the dozen grand (at least!) that I’ve put to keep myself alive (that I shouldn’t have to pay in the first place!!!) doesn’t even count for shit when it comes to my credit?!!? But god knows it counts against me if I let one default. How is this a system in a country that prides itself on justice and democracy? Cause this doesn’t sound democratic or just at all. 

If you can count your Mazda && Impala as an important purchase that adds to your credit than I should certainly get to count my medication && IV’s. 

One thought on “Diabetes Blog week: Medical debt && Why it should count as my “big purchase”

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