January 25, 2020
After spending weeks in hospital and ICU due to severe weight loss, inconsistent vision and pancreatitis, Meagan Lane was eventually released with a diagnosis that would change her life forever. At just 12 years old, Meagan had to learn how to manage the complicated world of type 1 diabetes.
With the support of her parents, she became independent and proactive—starting on a pump which helped her deliver her insulin automatically. An avid athlete, Meagan wanted life to remain as normal as possible. She played both Basketball and Volleyball for Team Saskatchewan in 2008 as well as USports/CIS Volleyball for the University of Regina.
Meagan, now 26 years old, has seen the treatments for T1D improve ten-fold since being diagnosed 15 years ago. Keeping up to date with technology to manage her diabetes has been a priority for her. Upon a recent appointment with her endocrinologist, Meagan learned she would need to start with a new insulin pump that would give her the best control possible, but would also result on relying on a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)— an expense she wasn’t prepared for, despite being a working professional with private insurance.
As a French immersion teacher in Saskatchewan, Meagan had access to private health coverage. However, her coverage did not extend to a CGM. So, she took it upon herself to write a letter to her healthcare provider, outlining the direction that insulin pump treatment is moving towards CGM usage and the limitations her coverage currently imposed.
Meagan’s individual advocacy efforts were shortly rewarded. At first instance, she was unable to purchase a different insurance plan that would provide extra coverage for her T1D necessities, and any premium plan options were so expensive for what was covered that the cost nullified the coverage received. She was left with the realization that she might be confined by the plan she had and was concerned that, in the long run, she would have to choose between the career she loved or her health. Luckily after many conversations and correspondence, Meagan recieved the good news that her plan would officially cover the cost of her CGM.
Meagan’s story is not uncommon and that’s why JDRF has developed a resource to help you advocate to your employer or insurance provider. Our Toolkit will help you navigate the advocacy world so that you can contact decision makers to ensure your interests are being considered.
"Your voice DOES matter, and my story is evidence that advocacy works and that you can make a difference for yourself and for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who live with this disease," Meagan says.
“My only advice for people with private coverage obstacles is to work with your endocrinologist and talk about your story with your providers,” she adds. “Your endocrinologist is also an incredible tool and resource in your advocacy. They can speak to your management, what you require, and why it is important for you to have coverage. Don’t feel like you are battling alone –you have an entire medical team who are on your side, too.”
To learn more about the toolkit and download it yourself visit www.jdrf.ca/accessforall