Our Options Can't Include Going Down With the Ship
Sooner or later we'll be contacted by Medtronic and offered a Minimed 630G to replace our Animas Ping. Under the Medtronic/Animas agreement, this pump will be at no cost to us since our Ping is under warranty until March 2021. Any other option will, even with the other pump companies' enticements for former Animas customers, come with expense.
The other two automated insulin delivery systems on the U.S. market (besides Medtronic) have their draws. They're both working with Dexcom, and we have a high degree of confidence it the Dexcom CGM system we currently use. Tandem's user-friendly touch screen, new technology and small size are appealing. Ominpod is the only waterproof system left on the market, and it has (by definition) remote control bolus programming, which is one of our favorite features of the Animas Ping especially when the pump is under a dress or buried under layers of a marching band uniform.
Tandem and Omnipod have their downsides too.
Our insurance company now has an exclusive contract with Medtronic for tubed pumps. A switch to Tandem could still be possible, as was sticking with Animas, since my daughter is still in the 'pediatric' category, but by 2021 she'll be considered an adult. Not only do I worry about the insurance coverage, the newness of Tandem is a double-edged sword in my book. While I hope they're on strong footing, I worry they're not yet established enough and I would hate to repeat our current scenario with a company going out of business.
OmniPod's relative stability in the market would make me less nervous, and they do contract with our insurer. We'd still have to pay to switch, since our warranty will be Medtronic's until 2021. But all of that's irrelevant since my kid doesn't like the idea of wearing something as big as a pod on her body and so she will not consider Omnipod, no matter what other features it may offer. It's the only option we've ever had real conversations about switching to, and the answer has always been the same. She likes the potential for invisibility a tubed pump offers. She's concerned not just about the obviousness of the pod, but also the awkwardness under clothing, knocking it off walking through doors, and how it would feel to sleep on it, all of which people get used to but which is still no small concern.
Theoretically we could also include multiple daily injections in the list of options. Or rigging up our own system #wearenotwaiting style. These are not, however, part of our family's conversation.
So, while we have at least the illusion of a choice here, I'm not sure it's much more than that. Financially, Medtronic makes sense. In terms of long-term corporate stability, they also seem like our safest bet. Their product feels the most similar to what we're using now. And in terms of leading the charge towards the artificial pancreas? They're in the front of the race so far.
When we ordered our Animas earlier this year, there were rumors the company might not make it. We certainly knew they weren't likely to release the next big technological innovation. But our warranty was up, and there was nothing compelling enough about what was on the market last winter to convince us to switch to a new system. We stuck with what we knew, knowing that in 2021 we'd likely be jumping ship to join whatever company was closest to an artificial pancreas by then.
We're going to be thrown overboard instead, and for now it looks like our most viable life raft is Medtronic. We'll hold onto our tried and true Animas as long as we can but we can't go down with the ship, so change is coming whether we like it or not.