I think an aspect of modern society that’s often taken for granted is universal health care. Many countries offer universal health care, including Canada. Some other countries that have some form of universal or very low-cost health care include Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This is just a handful of countries that I found through a quick search and is not a comprehensive list.
Amazingly, many countries that fall under the same societal status as many of the countries listed above don’t have universal health care. For example, the United States of America, which boasts being one of the greatest countries in the world forces its citizens to depend primarily on private and privately-purchased health insurance in order to cover medical costs.
Last year, I posted an article in which I outlined the cost of all my required Diabetic supplies. Just to get an idea or general reminder, here’s a quick breakdown:
- Insulin Pump Infusion Sets: $205.00/month;
- Insulin Pump Reservoirs: $43.50/month;
- Freestyle Libre Sensors: $178.00/month;
- Humalog Insulin Supply: $180.00/month;
- Blood Glucose Strips: $153.98/month;
- Ramipril and Crestor (preventative meds): $120.00/month.
- GRAND MONTHLY TOTAL: $880.48/month.
That monthly total is in Canadian dollars. So if we compare what it would cost a US citizen given the current exchange rate, a US citizen would be expected to pay $664/month out of pocket or through paid, private health insurance. Considering that the median salary in the US is about $4,700 before taxes, we’re talking 14 to 15 percent of the monthly income is contributed to Diabetic supplies. That percentage increases once you consider monthly salary AFTER taxes.
Despite universal health care in Canada, health insurance is still required for many, if not most prescription medications. This includes Diabetic supplies. There are some exceptions. For example, Prince Edward Island covers Diabetic supplies 100%. In Ontario, insulin is free for residents aged 24 and under and I know that certain supplies are provided free of charge in some of the Territories. Unfortunately, Canada lags behind many other countries with respect to insulin pumps being a “required” part of Diabetes management, and usually have to be paid out-of-pocket if one isn’t fortunate enough to have private insurance.
The bottom line is that Diabetes is one of those conditions that require constant technological upgrades, medications, different treatments continued costs that will last for life. Diabetes isn’t going away, and neither is the inherent cost to keeping yourself alive if you have it. ☯