It’s not something I talked about openly for years just because it wasn’t something I cared for others to know, but as I grow older and don’t care as much about what people think, I have decided to share a few things about what it is like being a Type 1 diabetic in the United States, especially around the finances of it.

TLDR Version – It costs me $880 per month to be a Type 1 Diabetic in the United States…

You see, I was diagnosed 22 years ago when I was in high school. It’s not as normal to be be diagnosed that old, but it does happen (just not as common). It was hard learning how to “be a diabetic” when I was just learning how to be me. But when you become a diabetic, there is little time to mess around. You learn, you adapt, or you fail. And failure isn’t much of an option in my mind because it can kill you in this instance.

Today, I wanted to share what it costs me just to be a diabetic. I don’t have much of an option. Type 1 diabetes is not like Type 2. My pancreas just no longer works and the drugs available to me is just insulin injections. That is it. I get a choice of just a few insulin brands based on my control and how I manage my diabetes.

insulin pump supplies

Diabetic Supplies List

Let’s first show you what I use on a regular basis to manage my diabetes. This will differ from person to person and really comes down to how much money you have available and what kind of insurance you have.

It’s really sad that to have really good control, you often need to have really good insurance, access to quality foods, and money. If you don’t have these, you rarely can do well as a diabetic and I know that first hand from many that I know. Too many people I have met and talked to have had to forgo insulin just to pay their bills or eat. That is disgusting and unacceptable, no matter what you think.

In a study, 14% of diabetics can’t afford insulin because it costs too much. When the insulin I use debuted back in 1996, it was only $21 per vial. Now it’s around $250 per vial. Let that sink in.

My diabetic supply list includes:

Now, that’s a lot of stuff. One of the worst parts is the amount of plastic waste all of this comes with. Just with every infusion set change which is every 3-5 days, I throw away just so much plastic waste. It’s irritating.

How Much Does Being a Type 1 Diabetic Cost Me?

Let’s break down how much this costs me per month. I’m going to include my insurance because I need this just to keep all the costs down and that’s the sad thing. Even with insurance, I’m still spending so much. My wife and kids are on a different plan for insurance because it ended up being cheaper overall.

  • Insulin Pump – Cost me $3,600 out of pocket and warranty lasts for 5 years, so $60/month
  • Freestyle Libre 3 – $75
  • Insulin – $30
  • Pump Supplies – $145
  • Insurance – $520
  • Test Strips – $30
  • Glucose tablets/gummies – $20

Total cost per month is $880!

Yes, you read that right, it costs me $880 per month just to stay healthy and alive. To me, this is non-negotiable. Without these, I wouldn’t have the control I have and be in the health I am. I take care of myself and my body, but I’m always in a battle with diabetes.

I find it completely ridiculous that I have to pay this much just to manage my diabetes. Now, if I didn’t have insurance, the supplies would cost me around $1,200 per month, so I do save with it, but not a huge amount. I’ve done the math before and keep it. It doesn’t benefit me to not have prescription coverage on insurance.

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2 Comments

  1. That’s a complete joke! It shouldn’t take so much money for you to get the medicine you need to survive. It price gouging plain and simple. I don’t know why big pharma has too drive up the cost of the most common medicine people have to have.

    1. I agree. The big issue is our patent system allows these companies to continually extend their patents to make it much harder for any new entrants into making synthetic insulin. Walmart was able to do it, but they needed really deep pockets as it’s just an expensive game to get into.