I’m currently without health insurance, and I’ve started having symptoms that could point to diabetes. I’m young and fairly healthy, but I have a family history of type 2. I’d clearly like to get this checked out ASAP, but I’m afraid that if I get diagnosed, it’ll make it all-but impossible for me to get health insurance in the future.
I’ll be in a position to get health coverage in only a few months, so I’m planning on waiting it out and then getting checked out.
Let’s say I go to the local free clinic and get a diagnosis of diabetes - would that basically make it impossible for me to get health insurance in the future?
If you are talking about employer or other group coverage, like student, it won’t make any difference at all in your ability to get coverage. It may result in some period of pre-existing condition exclusion. This depends on the individual policy, so there would be no blanket yes/no answer about pre-existing. As far as purchasing private health insurance, I’ll leave that to someone who knows more. I suspect that the consequences of untreated diabetes would be more financially harmful, though, not to mention physically. For example, being diagnosed with diabetes would be better than being hospitalized for it.
Many group coverages require a wait period for pre-existing conditions (IANAHR department)…mine is usually 1 year. If you are diagnosed and are able to treat it with minimal meds (read: lifestyle changes), it is a lot less expensive. That said, you will still have to have blood work done every 3 months to monitor it. That is where you have to come up with the bucks. If money is very tight, check into a community health program. They will usually offer you subsidized lab work and prescriptions if you qualify.
I’m self-employed and diabetic. I cannot get insurance at all, so have to pay for everything myself. Fortunately, I’m participating in a study, and they supply me with some of my meds, but not a couple of really expensive ones.
This pretty much sums it up. I’ve been a Type I diabetic since I was four, and for most those years, I was on a separate insurance policy from the rest of the family, because my parents couldn’t find one that would cover everybody else and me. So I had insurance with an entirely different company, and the monthly payment for just me approached the price for coverage for the other five people in my family. This would have been in the early '90s, so it’s not like this is a new
It was just absolutely bizarre, because I was a healthy child, and apart from one incident with insulin shock in third grade (it was Lent and I hated fishsticks and coleslaw, so I didn’t eat much that day apart from sugar-free jello and bread), I had excellent control of my diabetes. It wasn’t until I hit puberty that things got shook up a little, but by then I was covered under my mom’s work insurance.
I’m going off my parents’ insurance soon, and I don’t even know what I’ll do. The amount for my prescriptions/tests last year (syringes, test strips, two types of insulin, lancets, various blood tests) was close to $5,000 – actually it might have been more. That’s a hell of a lot of money when you’re 23.
All that said, VC03, you’re still a lot better off going and getting it checked out. I mean it. The costs of maintaining diabetes are far less than the costs of trying to treat wounds that refuse to heal or chronic skin infections or a host of other concerns. There are some things that can change that won’t go back, like your vision or nerve and vascular damage. You can’t fix those things, so you might as well try to prevent them from happening.
My husband, who sells health insurance for a living, says that Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Care First take diabetics. This varies state to state. However, Illinois may have a high-risk state-run insurance for those unable to get insurance otherwise due to pre-existing conditions.
Along with what others have said about private insurance, waiting until you just have coverage may not be enough. Many policies have a waiting period of 3 months to a year before they cover pre-existing conditions, and this can include undiagnosed conditions in some cases. If they can prove you had symptoms already, they might try to call it pre-exisiting even if you weren’t officially diagnosed. I had trouble with a gall bladder incident because of this, even though I wasn’t diagnosed yet when I had coverage. I had symptoms and that was enough for them to put up a fight.
Now I am back on a group policy and never had any trouble. Both my husband and I have changed jobs and group policies several times and none has cared about pre-exisiting conditions, although I hear that may be changing too.
But as others have said, if you think you should be checked out, diabetes isn’t something you want to wait around with either. This is one of the many reasons our health insurance system is flawed and sucks.
My first medical insurer was Kaiser Permanente. Over the years, I have gone through a few insurers until I was diagnosed with diabetes. I then consequently returned to Kaiser and discovered that since I had previously been with Kaiser, I was covered 100%.
VCO3, if you know that you will be covered in a few months than get a short-term medical policy through Blue Cross or any other company that offers it in your area. The one that I got in the period between graduating from college and my first “real” job was ~$50/month (very, very cheap in other words) with a low deductible and Rx coverage.
the real advantage to a short-term policy though is that it counts as certifiable coverage (depending on state and plan - read the fine print!), so if you are diagnosed with any chronic condition while you are covered by the policy then any subsequent insurance you get has to cover that condition. They can’t consider it pre-existing.
If you have to get an individual policy after the STM runs out they may charge you more than someone with no chronic conditions, but you’ll still be covered.