Insulin pumps are detachable, electronic medical devices that deliver insulin to users 24 hours a day.
How does it work? The pump is programmed to deliver exactly the right amount of insulin to the patient at a constant rate (which is called the basal rate). This insulin is delivered through a needle that can stay under the skin for up to three days before it needs to be replaced.
Users can also make the pump deliver an on-demand dosage of insulin (which is called a bolus dose) in order to counteract any food intake that is high in carbohydrates.
The pump serves as a replacement to the numerous manual injections that those affected by diabetes would otherwise have to give themselves daily.
According to Diabetes Australia (Victoria), more than five per cent of all people in Australia with type 1 diabetes are currently using an insulin pump instead of giving themselves multiple daily injections, or MDI – that's approximately 7,200 people.
If you are suffering from type 1 diabetes and are interested in getting an insulin pump fitted, then you're in luck; most private health insurance policies will provide you with at least some cover for this procedure.
However, the extent of this cover can vary widely between policies, so we recommend that you check exactly what you are covered for before booking an appointment.
Diabetes Australia is adamant, however, that this medical marvel is not a cure for type 1 diabetes. Rather, it is "a way of delivering insulin that may offer increased flexibility, improved glucose control and improved quality of life".
There are a few things you need to be aware of when it comes to organising an insurance plan for a medical procedure such as this.
You cannot, for example, organise a private health insurance plan and then immediately undergo an insulin pump fitting. New insurance policies are coupled with mandatory waiting periods of differing lengths which could prevent you from getting an insulin pump fitted for up to a year after you take out an insurance plan.
That's why it pays to be proactive and organise an insurance plan before you need any such procedure.
If you do not currently have Australian health insurance, HICA can help you to find a plan that will cover the fitting of an insulin pump, or any other medical procedure you believe you will need to undergo at some stage.