August 11, 2008
By: Laurie Edwards for Diabetes1
Between testing supplies and medications, doctor appointments and medical emergencies, having diabetes is expensive. If you have a child with diabetes, you face many challenges: getting appropriate medical care in schools and daycare centers, arranging your child’s medical team, and implementing diet and fitness changes in your household.
But that’s not all. You also have to figure out a way to pay for all of these medical expenses. It can be an overwhelming experience, but there are resources and strategies available to help defray costs and ensure that your child gets the coverage and supplies he or she needs.
When you’re the parent of a child with diabetes, learn to be savvy. The same tips that adults with diabetes have learned along the way still apply to your situation. For example, ask your physician for samples of medications, or shop around and compare drug prices in your area. Your child’s pharmacist may be able to match the best price.
Be your child’s advocate. You may be able to get samples or discounted products like glucose meters and test strips by calling the company. Local diabetes clinics, community health centers, and hospitals often have programs where families who cannot afford supplies like test strips or lancets can obtain them.
Expand your search. In addition to clinics and community centers, there are programs and non-profit ventures designed specifically to help children receive the supplies they need to lead healthy lives and prevent long-term complications. For example, the Supplies for Children With Diabetes Foundation, a branch of the Children With Diabetes Foundation, offers short-term supplies for children with type 1 diabetes who are in an emergency situation (if a parent loses a job, health insurance lapses, or a natural disaster occurs). Many similar programs exist, so look into what is available in your area.
Children, Diabetes and Health Insurance: Basic Facts
If you have health insurance and your child is diagnosed with diabetes, it is important that you not make assumptions regarding your child’s coverage. Your child could qualify as a dependent but many plans have specifications as to what constitutes a dependent. The dependent status may be different for stepchildren, disabled children, or grandchildren, for example.
It’s important to know that employer-sponsored plans and individual health plans are not required to automatically extend dependent coverage to children, so you need to read the terms of your plan and consult with your insurance company to be sure.
If you cannot provide health insurance for your child, every state in the country has a health insurance program for children who come from low-income households. If for some reason your child does not qualify for state health insurance or other options, usually because of his or her health status, there are also high-risk pools he or she could enter.