How a T1D Mom Led Her Company to Switch Insurers
If you receive insurance through your employer but are not satisfied with the coverage for type 1 diabetes (T1D) services and supplies, there’s something you can do. Just ask Lara Schwager.
In 2016, Lara switched employers and enrolled in a new health insurance plan. Under her previous plan, her son, who lives with T1D, received coverage for his supplies, including continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensors. The new plan couldn’t provide clear answers on which of the supplies her son relies on to manage his T1D would be covered and at what percent. “From day one, they wouldn’t confirm coverage and therefore I had to choose a plan without knowing the level of coverage for my son’s supplies,” says Lara. “We contacted the insurer through our broker. They acknowledged that their coverage for T1D was not good, and they had no intention of improving it.” That year, Lara spent thousands more on supplies than she did on her previous plan.
Dissatisfied, Lara met with human resources to discuss the option of finding a new health insurance provider. That single conversation sparked a dialogue that went all the way to the company’s owner. Realizing their employees weren’t receiving the coverage they needed, the company promised to look into the issue while recognizing that they may not be able to make a change.
“Most people don’t know the costs of living with T1D,” explains Lara. “From the owner of my company to our insurance broker, they just didn’t understand the space. If I hadn’t brought it up, they still probably wouldn’t.”
And for Lara, this story has a happy ending. Her company switched insurance providers, and her new plan has superior coverage, including a special segment for people living with T1D. If she hadn’t advocated for better coverage, her son and other company employees with T1D would still be paying for inadequate coverage.
“It’s possible to affect change, even though you are just one family in many” says Lara. “If you go in to a meeting with your human resources representative equipped with your out-of-pocket costs and examples of specific improvements, you can make a difference.”
Visit the JDRF Type 1 Diabetes Health Insurance Guide for more information on how to work with your employer to obtain better insurance for people with T1D