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To keep his parents' money, this diabetic teenager narrowed his insulin



The high school senior came up with an idea: he would reduce his insulin by about a third.

Dillon, who has type 1 diabetes, is supposed to keep blood sugar levels between 130 and 150. After he started taking insulin, his level rose to 300.

He knew that it was dangerously high, and at the back of his mind he was worried that he could get into a diabetic coma. "I don't think right, but my parents work so hard to give me what I need, and I didn't want to stress them any more," said Dillon, now 18.

Between 2012 and 2016, insulin costs for people with type 1 diabetes almost doubled, ranging from $ 2,864 per year to $ 5.705, according to a study this month from the Health Care Cost Institute, a non-profit research institute.

The cost of Dillon insulin was much higher. Last year he was insured with his father's work at the steel factory in Utah. When Dillon started his insulin, the mill had just switched to an insurance plan with a high deductible amount, which means his parents would have to pay $ 5,000 from their pocket before the insurance began.

Under this new insurance, Hooleys had to pay $ 800 a month for Dillon insulin instead of $ 60 a month they paid under their old plan.

Dillon's father Jason Hooley, who was busy with the financial distress of his family, worked and did not notice that the 400-pound steel beams came to his middle finger. He lost half a finger and could only do a light job at the mill. When his hours were reduced, he earned $ 300 a week.

This is when Dillon secretly began to reduce his insulin. His parents learned when he arrived at the doctor's appointment regularly and the doctor was shocked by his high blood sugar levels.

Then Dillon's father changed his job twice to get better health insurance. Now, the family costs $ 160 a month for their insulin, which is better than $ 800 a month, but is still a financial struggle for five families. Dillon has returned to full insulin dose in his mother's attentive eye.

Mindie Hooley screams when she thinks about what her son helped his parents.

"He's such a selfless man," she said. "My heart just broke because you want to do everything to protect him, but he defended us."

Legislative pledges

Some people with diabetes have not survived the rise in insulin prices.

In 2017, 22-year-old Antavia Worsham from Cincinatti died when she couldn't afford her insulin.

Her mother Antroinette Worsham testified on Tuesday to the Capitol Hill House Supervisory and Reform Committee. The Senate Committee also held a hearing on Tuesday's rise in drug prices.

"It is unacceptable and I plan to get directly to the bottom of the rise in insulin prices," said Sens Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

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The pharmaceutical industry says that patients who have insurance, like Hooleys, would not have to pay the full price, because insulin makers give deep discounts to insurance companies. "These savings are often not shared with patients whose costs continue to rise," said Holly Campell, a representative of American pharmaceutical research and manufacturers.

However, the insurance industry said it was not true. "The savings from the rebate give customers directly," said Cathryn Donaldson, an American Health Insurance Representative.

December 2016 Senber Sander from Vermont and Rep. Elijah Cummings from Maryland asked the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether insulin manufacturers had talked about drug prices.

In October, the Attorney General's Office of Minnesota filed a claim against the insulin makers claiming to be illegal pricing practices. The trial brought by patients with diabetes in Massachusetts, accusing insulin makers of pricing, has been dealt with by a federal court.

The future of Dillon

Although drug and insurance companies point their fingers apart, Hooleys is still trying to pay $ 160 a month for Dillon insulin, as well as other supplies such as his test strips.

When paying for his insulin, Dillon's parents have not managed to save enough to buy him a glucose monitor that eliminates anxiety if his glucose levels fall.

They know he needs it. Last month, his mother checked him while he was sleeping and saw that he was not good. She woke him up and gave him some honey, but he was so confused with his low blood glucose that, instead of eating it, he cleaned the honey all over his body.

The ambulance was taken to the emergency service, where it was stabilized and released.

After graduating from high school last May, Dillon wanted to go to school to become a nurse or respiratory therapist. Instead, he got a job at a factory where his father works to help pay for his insulin and save on school.

He looks back at his dose of one and a half months of insulin and knows he has made the wrong choice, but it was a choice that was covered by love.

"My parents do so much for me and it was so hard to watch it financially," he said. "I felt helpless to be unable to participate."


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