Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What I Don’t Know CAN Hurt Me . . . .

"Ignorance is bliss." "What you don't know can't hurt you."  I suppose in some instances these statements may be true, but mostly I don't agree with them. And I especially don't agree with them when it comes to my life with diabetes.

Over the past decade or so, I’ve become increasingly hypoglycemic unaware.  Not every single time, but more often than not.  As a rule, by the time I feel any low symptoms I am pretty damn low, like in the 50’s or below.  And that’s why I depend on my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM).

It’s scary to think about living without a CGM.  I’ve heard that if you run your blood sugars higher for a while, you can get back some of the sensitivity to lows.  But that’s not  a great trade off because high blood sugars can come with terrible consequences as well.  So I depend on my CGM to let me know that I’m heading into a potentially dangerous blood sugar situation.  It often helps me correct the plunge before things get scary.  And it not only helps the dangerous lows, but it alerts me to highs as well.  My CGM helps me correct out of range blood sugars, when without it they might stay too high or too low for far too long, causing damage to my body.

I am 47 years old and I’m lucky that my insurance covers my CGM.  Those who have aged into Medicare aren’t as lucky.  I find this ridiculous and scary, because I know just how vital a CGM is to my diabetes management ( and I’d guess the diabetes management of many others as well). 

Medicare-CGM Infographic

Why doesn’t Medicare cover CGMs??  Honestly, I have no idea.  It doesn’t make sense.  And I’ve been part of the JDRF movement to try and change that.  At Government Day last spring, I joined my fellow Advocacy Team Chair volunteers from around the country and we spoke to leaders and staff on Capital Hill about this issue.  I believe it was discussed again at Children’s Congress in July.  Action alerts continue to go out about the bills aiming to facilitate Medicare coverage of this vital technology.


We’re getting there, but we have a long way to go.  Please, if your Representative hasn’t signed on to HR1427 yet, email them and urge them to do so.  Even if you’ve sent an email in the past, now is a great time to send another!

support map

And the same goes for the Senate and S804.  If your state isn’t colored dark greenish (teal??) on the map above, click here and email your Senator.

People on Medicare need access to CGMs.  Because what we don’t know can hurt us.  #MedicareCoverCGM

**  I hope that by the time you read this post and click the graphics above, the sponsorship numbers will be higher than shown here.  Because I hope new cosponsors are signing on every day! **


  1. Karen, it's great to hear your perspective on this re hypo unawareness. Here in Australia, CGM isn't funded by our government either. There's been a lot of attention in the media at the moment, mostly directed towards funding CGM in young children. I don't own one, but I'm doing my best to support it by writing to my local Member of Parliament and the Minister for Health. I hope that I will see more perspectives on this issue in the media going forward...

  2. Karen, thank you for highlighting one of the most important topics in our legislative campaign. Medicare has essentially said that they will approve CGm when the companies show it reduces use of test strips. Frankly, this misses the point. We must drive this issue home in all ways we can.

    Thank you

  3. Like Australia, CGM is not government funded in the UK. Whilst I think it should be, we are still fighting for pumps to be funded for all (there are tight controls on who can have them) and I do not want to start a CGM campaign and, thus, lose focus on the pumps.
    On one hand, there is huge amounts of publicity about how much diabetes and it's complications cost (10% of the NHS budget). On the other hand, there is no consideration towards saving future costs through reducing the chances of complications. For example, many people with type 2 have to fund their own test strips.
    We have a long staircase of steps to climb before government funded CGM is available for all.
    That said, I still support the UK NHS systems where do not have to fight insurance companies for the right to pay for the insulin that we need.


Thanks for your comment!