Why Insulin Pump Choice Matters
If you are one of the 1.45 million Americans with type 1 diabetes (T1D), you need to take insulin every day to live. Over the year, progress and developments of insulin pumps have provided an alternative method to deliver insulin, eliminating the need for constant injections by needle or pen.
Every individual has their own unique lifestyle and routine and management of type 1 diabetes is a part of that. Not all pumps are the same, and one pump might fit your lifestyle better than another. Some pumps are waterproof; some have larger insulin reservoirs; some have smaller basal and bolus increments; some are tubed and some are tubeless. Diabetes does not look the same for everyone, and it’s important to pick the pump that works best with your lifestyle.
Questions to Consider When Choosing a Pump
- What are the upsides? Is it a color you like? Something easy to integrate with your clothing? Does it have special features other pumps might not have?
- Is the pump waterproof or water-resistant? If not, is it easy to disconnect before going swimming or taking a shower?
- Is the pump tubed or do you prefer tubeless?
- How are the insulin pump’s reviews? Do people seem satisfied with it? If they aren’t satisfied, does the manufacturer’s customer service seem responsive?
These questions are a great starting point to help get you thinking about your own needs and preferences. Taking the time to find the perfect pump is an important step in your overall management plan. There are many great resources out there — like the DiabetesWise initiative — that can help with your research!
You can also consult our Insulin Pumps: Are They Right for You? One Pager [PDF].
The Pump Choice Problem
Unfortunately, many Americans with type 1 diabetes are left without the option to choose. Cost and insurance coverage limitations can limit people to devices that aren’t the best fit.
Diabetes management is already difficult and becomes even harder given these constraints. Even worse, people who can’t afford the out-of-pocket costs for their insulin pump may decide to go without one. This puts their health at risk and leads to higher healthcare costs for everyone.
According to one survey, almost half of the people who stopped using an insulin pump within one year said it was because the pump did not fit their lifestyle. This makes sense: It’s a personal decision that directly affects how you manage your type 1 diabetes, and so the decision should be made by you, and your healthcare team — not by insurance companies.
A lack of choice is bad for people with type 1 diabetes, bad for our healthcare system and bad for innovation. When a medical device manufacturer enters into agreements with insurers, they have little incentive to innovate and develop new treatments, making it even harder to manage what is already a challenging disease.
To stay healthy, people with diabetes need insurance coverage that allows them to manage their disease. Through our #Coverage2Control campaign, JDRF is urging insurance companies to say “no” to exclusive agreements with pump makers that limit patient choice. JDRF feels strongly that people with type 1 diabetes, who prefer pump therapy, should have the freedom to choose the best insulin pump for them.