My name is Amber Gore and I live in Joliet, Illinois. In November of 2013, while I was a senior in high school, I injured myself while cheerleading. I went to the doctor and after checking my vitals, the doctors discovered that I have type 1 diabetes.
I quickly realized that type 1 diabetes can be an extremely expensive diagnosis. I was lucky to have insurance for the first couple of years after my diagnosis and was able to afford my insulin, but my situation became more complicated when I lapsed out of my father’s insurance. Since my diagnosis, I have bounced between insurance plans. The concern of whether my insurance will cover my medication, and cover it at an affordable price, is a big fear for me.
After I was no longer covered by my father’s health insurance plan, I had insurance coverage through Medicaid. Unfortunately, though, my type of insulin wasn’t covered by Medicaid, making finding affordable insulin a challenge.
I later moved from Illinois to Texas and was unable to afford my insulin at all. When moving out of state, I was no longer able to access my regular insurance for the first few months. During that time I struggled to get insulin, leading to a number of trips in and out of the hospital. With this constant uncertainty of rationing the insulin that I did have, taking care of myself became difficult.
The times that I’ve had to ration my insulin are incredibly stressful, which only negatively affects my blood sugar level further. If my blood sugar level varies too much, I have to go to the hospital for medicine and end up spending even more on medical costs. At times I have had to pay out of pocket, and with the list price of one vial of Novolog at $289, these costs quickly add up.
I’m now on an insulin pump and take Novolog, but there have definitely been times where I’ve had to ration my insulin because of the cost. I would try to avoid eating meals so I could use less insulin. No one should have to skip meals and ration the medicine that keeps them alive simply due to high prices. A system like ours, where patients cannot access life-saving prescriptions, is a broken system. We need reforms so people like me don’t have to continue worrying about whether we will have to ration our medicines because of their cost and inaccessibility.
In the face of this adversity, I try to stay positive regardless of the situation. I’m currently studying to become a life coach to empower others to persevere as I have through this adversity. I hope to speak up for what I’ve had to go through with my illness to help others in similar situations.