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May 28, 2000

Social Issues: Insurance/Costs

Question from Waco, Texas, USA:

Where can a low-income family receive help with the expense of diabetes supplies? There is a student at my daughter's school who is newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He never has enough strips and only has one meter, so therefore is using my daughter's supplies quite frequently.


You ask a very tough question and one almost impossible to answer without more specific information. I would assume that the state of Texas has a Medicaid plan that would provide coverage for test strips, insulin, syringes and lancets so that this type of situation would not arise. Certainly in Massachusetts and in many states this would be the case. Perhaps you could talk with the parents of this youngsters and make sure that they are aware of available resources. The Texas chapter of the American Diabetes Association and also the Texas Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundations would be two other organizations who will be able to get these folks in touch with the appropriate authorities. Neither the ADA or the JDF will provide strips or other medical related supplies directly. I hope that you can make sure this family understands the importance of getting such resources by talking with their own doctor and health care team — they’d also know exact details of how to get them assistance appropriately.

Additional comments from Dr. Donough O’Brien:

The child in question might be eligible for Medicaid. If the family exceeds the income limit for Medicaid all States have additional Federal funds for children’s medical care although these too are means tested. The administrative details vary from state to state so the family should enquire from either their State Health Department or Social Services.