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Humulin N Mistaken for Humalog

Yesterday I posted about the excitement that I had about ordering and receiving my first 90 day supply order since having insurance for the first time in 15 months. However, I also had to add an update because after coming home and opening the box, there was 3 vials of Humulin in this box.


20130919-171350.jpgI started thinking about why their would be Humulin N in this box and not Humalog, so right away I called the insurance company. They told me that the RX they had on file that the doctor faxed over was for Humulin N, 10 units a day, which meant 3 vials for a 90 day supply. What is this? I’ve never used Humulin N in my life. In fact, I didn’t even know what Humulin N is!

So I asked OptumRX what the process was to return this insulin and to get my $25 back for this 90 day supply because I will never use this insulin and it’s just going to go to waste. Well, since they shipped the insulin that the doctor faxed over, they cannot refund the money and they cannot accept the insulin back as a return. I mentioned that it was a doctor mistake and I’m not even using Humulin so it’s not an actual doctor’s order because I don’t use this stuff, never have.

Their answer, “Sorry, sir, we apologize for the inconvenience, but we cannot refund the $25 or accept the insulin back as a return”

One day back with an insurance company and already the hoops, loops, obstacles, and BS has started. I also mentioned yesterday that I will never complain about insurance or pharmacies again because I have lived without having them, so I am completely grateful for this and the $25 loss is well worth it, as long as the correct insulin is ordered and shipped.

I called the doctors office this morning and explained the situation. The doctor’s assistant is the one who faxed over the RX and there was a bit of confusion….so, let me explain.

During my last visit, we discussed ways to try and cut out these highs in the morning. Here’s an example of one, I woke up this morning at 124 @6:30 a.m. I fell back asleep until 9:30 and my blood sugar was 325. That’s it, no food, no coffee, nothing, just simply waking up increases my blood sugars crazy high. So, my doctor recommended taking 10 units of Humulin N at night before bed to try and stop those lows.

There was the confusion, I guess.

Doctor’s assistant saw the visit notes and saw Humulin and did not see anything about Humalog, because I was on Apidra, but it’s too expensive right now and went with Humalog. Even though I told the receptionist Humalog, and I know she didn’t get it wrong because she’s probably the best doctor’s receptionist I’ve ever had before.

Bottom line is that the issue is fixed….I hope. My credit card was charged another $25, so I’m assuming I should be getting an email later tonight about the order shipping and hopefully will get it tomorrow. If not, it’s back to the doctor for a sample vial of insulin to get me through the weekend.

15 Months of Waiting for a 90 Day Supply

It’s been approximately 15 months since the last time that I was able to go to my mailbox and pick up a 90 day supply of insulin from the insurance company, and damn it feels good. It felt great yesterday to call the insurance company and set up my mail order account with OptumRX, which this is my first time dealing with them, I’ve previously dealt with Medco with United Healthcare.

The customer service rep answered all the questions that I had about my new insurance and the costs and it was a very simple process to set up my account and get my first order submitted. Called the doctor and had them fax a prescription which I figured would take several days for it to be input into the computer and then another day for the order to process. That was not the case. I called my doctor around 10 a.m. and I received an email last night around 7 p.m. that my order was processed and had a tracking number. That tracking number showed that the package was already picked up and headed my way to south Florida.

The insulin pricing was a bit different then previous insurances that I used in the past. And insulin in a vial vs insulin pens were different as well. For example, the Humalog insulin vials were a tier 1, but the Humalog insulin pens were a tier 2. The Novolog vials were tier 2 and so were the insulin pens, but the insulin pen refills were tier 3. Apidra of course was a tier 3.

Just for my own curiosity, is Apidra NOT a tier 3 for any of your insurances?

Going from what I was paying out of pocket for insulin, which could have been a lot more if it wasn’t for some of the awesome people in the DOC, to only having to pay $25 for a 90 day supply, I cannot find words for the way it feels.

Next up is test strips. All of the supplies are covered under my medical and not pharmacy, so that’s a whole other story. The new year for insurance starts in November, so why waste money on a deductible now, when it will just need to be re-paid again in a month and a half. But that also means I have to stretch out the life of the current strips that I have.

No matter what, I will never complain about an insurance issue, the costs of supplies or a deductible or anything! I hope that I can eventually help others as much as people helped me get through this tough time.

***Update*** I wrote this post before I opened up the package. I received the package and went to Starbucks to write this post.  Upon opening the box when I got home, the package contained 3 vials of Humulin N.  I use 5 vials of Humalog a month, and have never used Humulin, so this is a big mistake.  Then I remembered that during my last appointment two weeks ago, I spoke with my doctor about possibly using 10 units a night of Humulin to help with the morning highs and that’s where the confusion may have came in.  So, although the pharmacy did not make a mistake and I have been billed for the $25 for the insulin that I will never use, I can’t really complain about them.

One Week and Counting

Less than one week away from getting insurance again.  I am super excited and haven’t been this excited in a long time.  It’s been a struggle without the insurance and I would never want to have to live through it again.  My A1C has gone up since I haven’t had insurance and easy access to supplies, but luckily the DOC pulled through and really helped me.

I can’t wait to be able to help others in the DOC out.

September 1 just please hurry up and get here!

Re-United with Health Insurance

As of September 1, 2013, I will be re-United with health insurance.  See what I did there? United Healthcare was my former health insurance company before the whole COBRA fiasco, and now United Healthcare is my insurance company again.  I am super excited to have this full insurance again.  I can’t wait to order all of my supplies and not have to worry about things not being covered and paying for everything that I need out of pocket or nagging my doctor to provide me with free samples just so I can get by.

I will be on an HMO plan until October which is when open-enrollment is, but even then, I don’t think I will switch to a PPO because it is nearly $700 per pay period, so in total around $1,500 a month for just Amanda and I.  To me, that doesn’t make any sense for the fact that Amanda works for a government organization, but it is, what it is.

For all of those that helped me along the way, thank you.  I don’t think that I can ever pay any of you back for how much it really meant to me, the best that I can do is now try and help others who are in need of help.

Thank you all once again.

You Down with PPO or HMO

First, I want to apologize to everyone for creating an earworm for the rest of the day and having you sing Naughty by Nature…not cuz I hate ya…anyway.

Since I am a newly married man, which it is still weird saying my wife instead of girlfriend or fiance, I am finally able to be put on her insurance.  I won’t officially be added for about a month because of the time it takes to get the marriage license, change her name, and then be added to the insurance.  Then, even after I am added to the insurance, I still don’t know how long it will take until I can actually use the insurance.  That’s the big question.

However, before that big question comes about, theres an even more important question, which plan do I choose?

When I was a single guy and had my own insurance, there was no question, I was going with the PPO plan.  Now, with having a spouse on the plan, it more than triples the monthly cost of the insurance premium (approx. $680/mo).  If I went with the HMO plan it is only approx. $225/mo.

So, obviously, this is where I need your help.  I was told in the past when I had to choose my first insurance plan with diabetes to never go with the HMO option. “If you have diabetes, you should always have a PPO”  I don’t know if that is the right advice or just some BS by that particular medical professional, who maybe wouldn’t be covered under the HMO plan.

Have you had any terrible nightmares with HMO plans with diabetes?  Is it really the worst insurance option for someone with diabetes?  HMO is still better than no insurance at all right?

Please let me know your thoughts and please share so I can make the most educated decision.  A difference of $4,000 a year is definitely a big deal.


Almost Out of Strips

So, as you all know I have been without my full coverage for a while now.  Which means that I am paying out of pocket for test strips, pump supplies, insulin, etc.  It’s now time to purchase some more test strips.  I thought that I was good for another two months, but, once again, I left two empty boxes of strips in my inventory cabinet and thought there was strips in the boxes, but there wasn’t.

There are a lot of purchasing decisions in life that can be tough, a car, a home, deciding to buy a new 27″ iMac!  However, these type of purchase decisions is not very tough because there is not much of a choice.  I have been lucky to have an endo that is so willing to give me anything that I need, but there is only so much that I can take from them without feeling like I am taking from people with smaller incomes that need the samples more than I do. Read More

Silhouetting for the First Time

As most of you know, I lost my insurance a couple of months ago and since then I have been scrambling trying to find the supplies that I need to get by until I’m able to properly budget for all the crazy costs that are occurring now.  During this time, I was able to try out the Silhouette infusion sets for the first time.  I have been pushing this off because, well, they kind of scared me because I knew they had a lot bigger of a needle.

I do not have the insertion device, so I knew that I had to go at it all by myself.  This was pretty terrifying, especially the first time.  It went in pretty easily, but then again, I’m not even sure that it went in all the way.  The whole 20-40 degree angle insertion thing was a little tricky.  It reminded me of the Medtronic CGM insertion device (which I dislike strongly as well).  Overall, there was no blood, no screaming, and nothing too crazy. Read More

Thanks a lot Local and State Government….NOT!

After writing a few blog posts about my thankfulness and appreciation of the DOC, I now want to write a post about the local and state government. This, unfortunately, is not a thankful post. After losing my COBRA insurance almost two weeks ago now, I reached out and sent e-mails to every single local and state elected officials, every advisory board, panel, and organization I could think of. With it being re-election time, I knew that their plates would all be filled and they would not have much time for a voter because they are focused on the masses at this time looking for a re-election.

On the other hand, I thought that I would at least get some sort of responses that explained that, because I could understand that and be fine with that response. However, the responses (the few that I did receive) were not that great.

When it came to the different agencies or groups that I contacted, none of them seem to be the right place to contact. About 5-6 different e-mail responses said, “that’s not something we handle, contact this department.” So, I would contact “that” department, and they would say the same thing. Eventually, I was sent to 5 different groups until it came full cycle and I began getting referred to groups that I already contacted. Either, there is no sort of group out there that can help somebody who just lost COBRA, or nobody wanted to get their hands dirty. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, everybody likes clean hands during re-election season.

So, it’s back to working with Big Red and Big Blue (ADA and JDRF) about resources or advocacy plans on making sure there is some sort of group or organization that can help fight this.

The adventure continues….

No COBRA Follow Up – Supply Inventory

It has been a very long week for me. There has been a lot of adjustments, a lot of planning and figuring out what I am going to do for all of my supplies and insulin, etc. Like I said in yesterday’s post, I just wanted to say thank you again. Honestly, I have never been in this position before and it means so much that you all would be so kind and considerate to reach out and help in times of need. It still feels weird asking for supplies when over my almost 10 years with diabetes, I have been the one who has sent supplies out to others. What comes around, goes around right?

I spent a lot of time last week figuring out what my inventory of supplies currently is and how long that current supply will last me before I have to start purchasing items out of pocket. It breaks down like this:

– OneTouch Strips – 400 strips
– MMT397 Infusion Sets – 9
– Reservoirs – a lot (stocked up on these throughout my insurance life)
– Dexcom sensors – 2 (found one in my home office where it wasn’t supposed to be)
– Things to put over my Dexcom sensor in bath or pool (I use a bunch of different items) – 2
– Insulin – I had only 1-2 weeks left, but the insulin fairy hit me and I now have a 3-4 month supply of inuslin. Greatest act of kindness I have ever seen!

So, my two biggest areas of concerns in my eyes are the test strips and the infusion sets. I think that I will be fine with the infusion set side of things because there are some very cool and awesome people out there who are willing to help out.

That leaves me with the test strips side of things. I have a decision to make, do I go with a cheaper strip, like a Walmart brand or such and deal with inaccuracies, or do I continue with one of the most expensive brands of strips and just suck it up and pay out of pocket for them? I am unfortunate to still have a job while living without insurance. I still am making a living, in fact, since I own my own business, I can have more control over how much income I do make and if I have to take on a few more lower paying tasks throughout the month to cover these additional costs, then so be it.

I’m sure that I could easily get more and more strips from my endo’s office, but I don’t want to do that. I’ve seen the community that my endo services and there are people out there far worse off than me financially and could use the strips a lot more than I can.

But, this is where I am looking to hear back from y’all. If you were in my situation, would you go with the higher cost, more accurate, or move on to the cheaper choice and deal with the inaccuracies from the cheaper meter and strips?

Your opinions and suggestions are welcomed.

Thank you once again.

Thank You All for your Support

So, as many of you know, last week I received the horrible news that I lost my COBRA insurance coverage. I was denied twice after submitting a review of the decision. With that being said, I just wanted to take the time to say thank you.

Thank you to every single person that reached out to me to provide advice, supplies, support, and just a comment of concern. It truly means a lot to me that so many people care about what happened to me and what I am going through. You really notice how close this community is when something happens and people are in need of help.

So, thank you. I really can’t say it enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I will be posting an update on the situation tomorrow. Basically, I’ve reached out to politicians, attorneys, organizations, etc. and I will let you know what came out of all of that.

But, once again, thank you all so much.

photo credit: Avard Woolaver via photopin cc