Dear United Healthcare

Dear United Healthcare,

You have been our family's insurance provider for the past 10 years.  I have repeatedly sung your praises regarding the coverage you provide for my daughter's diabetes supplies.  Our coinsurance costs are minimal compared to what so many other people pay out of pocket.  We've had choices of insulin, glucometers, equipment companies and medical providers.  We've appreciated that. These choices have allowed my daughter to thrive and to manage her diabetes at the same time.

Today I learned that beginning this summer you will only contract with one insulin pump company.  It is not the company we've been getting insulin pumps from since my daughter was 2.  It is not the company we chose after exhaustive research with our health care providers.  It is not the pump the endocrinology team recommended because its insulin delivery format was different from others and therefore a better fit for the patient.  It is not the product we use because we find its features make diabetes as easy to manage as possible.  It's not the tool we have spent 12 years learning to use as a substitute for my daughter's pancreas.

Diabetes management is a unique process. Every person using a pump is using it differently.  People deliver different doses when they eat or correct high blood sugars.  People program different basal rates based on a whole host of physiological and personal factors.  People use pump features, many of which are very different in different brands of pumps, to tweak those doses and basal rates based on their very unique personal needs.  Changing access to features people use to manage their disease well will, logically, lead to them managing it less well.

I'm grateful to hear that this new rule will not (yet, at least) apply to pediatric patients.  I also understand that you will provide exceptions to the rule should a physician certify a particular pump as medically necessary.  Yet the reality is that most of your customers will no longer be able to choose the tool they are most comfortable using all day every day to keep themselves both alive and healthy.

I've always assumed that the good coverage you've given for diabetes care in the past came not from a place of benevolence but from an understanding that giving the patient the best tools to manage diabetes at home leads to fewer hospitalizations and fewer larger long-term health issues.  I hope this is not the first of other roadblocks you intend to put in the path of patients who are thriving with the tools they have.  With less effective tools people will, logically, manage diabetes less effectively. That seems like a big price to pay for short-term financial gain.  For the benefit of all of your customers with diabetes, please reconsider your agreement with Medtronic and the philosophy behind it.


Your Previously Happy Customer

We love the tiny basal increments, the meter- remote feature,
the way the temp basal works, the customer service,
 that it's waterproof, and that we're so
 familiar with it now that we can use it in the dark.
  Please don't take it away.


  1. Yes this was a big news today for me. As the previous commentator said, well said.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes web page for the week of May 2, 2016.


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