Financial Concerns About Insulin Pumps

Many concerns arise when patients consider the costs of insulin pump therapy. The following are a few of the most frequently asked questions:

What is the cost of a pump?

About $6,000 is the average price.

How much of the cost will my insurance cover?

Most insurance plans provide coverage for insulin pump therapy and diabetes testing supplies under a Durable Medical Equipment (DME) clause. Pump manufacturers’ insurance departments have the expertise to negotiate approval for payment with your insurance provider. If you have a co-payment, the manufacturer will set up a payment plan, if necessary.

Medicare and Medicaid plans also provide coverage, but you should check with the plan administrator in your state.

What is the cost of supplies?

Monthly costs for intensive insulin pump management supplies can range from $250 to $500, depending on your insurance plan and on the frequency of site changes. Here are potential costs for 10 set changes per month (every three days):

Needle setApproximately $6.90 per set$69
90-degree insertion cannulaDepending on the brand,
$10.83 per set or
$13.50 per set
30-degree insertion cannula$11 per set$110
Pump syringes$10 per month$37-$46
Sterile dressings and skin prep$10 per month
Example: box of 50 IV prep wipes
Some vendor cash prices can be 30%-50% less than billed list price. Ask about payment options and discounts.
$32 (billed)
$16 (cash)
InsulinDepends on coverage/co-pay/amount used.Variable
Test stripsMinimum of four daily multiplied by cost per strip. Approximately .75 to $1.00 per strip. Usually covered by insurance.$3-$10 per day

Prices shown are estimates only. Vendor and manufacturer prices vary and can change at any time.

How can we save money on supplies?

If you use sites and supplies beyond the recommended limits, consider these costs: How much does a trip to the emergency room or the doctor’s office cost if you develop an abscess? What is the cost of the antibiotic to treat an infection? What is it worth to avoid the inconvenience of a missed delivery or occlusion alarms or the wait for a replacement pump?

What about tax deductions?

Keep all receipts for diabetes supplies and prescriptions. These can add up, and they may be partially deductible as medical expenses. Even if they are not deductible, you have started a paper trail of medical expenses that might be useful in a future tax year. Talk to the manufacturer’s sales and insurance staff . Don’t let any of the above concerns deter you from seeking a better quality of life, because having a better quality of life is truly priceless.

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