Accessing financial assistance for type 1 diabetes in Australia
Most families who have a child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) will experience an impact on their finances.
This may be through loss of income: at first, you might have to take a block of leave as you support your child to adjust to their return to school, or you may consider reducing your work hours to manage your new found carer role. You’ll also need to factor in the additional day-to-day costs that T1D incurs, which will impact your budget.
The good news? Financial assistance is available in a variety of forms.
Financial impacts of type 1 diabetes
First, some background on the cost of insulin and other diabetes supplies in Australia.
A 2021 report by JDRF Australia, Economic Cost of Type 1 Diabetes in Australia, found that adults living with type 1 diabetes spend an average of $257.60 a month on supplies to treat their diabetes. This includes insulin pump consumables, blood glucose or urine monitoring strips, and insulin syringes and pen needles if needed. This excludes the cost of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and flash glucose monitoring.
Help acquiring medical supplies
The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) offers free support and free or subsidised diabetes supplies. This includes the free supply of continuous glucose monitor (CGM) supplies for people with T1D who are under 21 years of age.
NDSS: CGM initiative for ages 21+
People over 21 with type 1 diabetes who use CGMs or flash GMs previously paid between $2600 and $5000 a year for the technology. But after sustained advocacy and campaigning by JDRF and other members of the Diabetes Alliance, the government announced the expansion of the CGM subsidy initiative, giving those over the age of 21 free access to CGM and flash GM technology. To find out if you’re eligible and to access the subsidy, visit the NDSS website.
Health Care Card
Many families with a child with T1D aged under 16 years are eligible for a Health Care Card (HCC). The HCC can be used to get discounts on prescription items and medical supplies as well as making you eligible for other concessions varying from state to state.
Insulin Pump Program
The Insulin Pump Program (IPP) provides insulin pumps to children under 18 years with T1D. Families must meet financial and clinical eligibility requirements to be part of the program; check your eligibility for the Insulin Pump Program here.
Some families are eligible for a fortnightly Carers Allowance which is assessed and administered through Centrelink.
Carers Adjustment Payment
A one-off payment, the Carers Adjustment Payment is available for parents of children aged under seven years who have been diagnosed with a severe medical condition. Some T1D families have been successful in obtaining the payment. A detailed application is required.
Essential Medical Equipment Payment
The Essential Medical Equipment Payment is a yearly payment to help with energy costs to run essential medical equipment or heating or cooling for medical needs.
Chronic Disease Management Plan
Speak to your general practitioner (GP) about obtaining a Chronic Disease Management Plan for your child. This may make you eligible for additional Medicare payments for services.
Closing the Gap
Closing the Gap programs help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have a chronic disease or who are are at risk of developing a chronic disease. People can sign up for Closing the Gap programs with their general practitioner (GP) or practice staff at their usual health care provider.
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