It has now been 8 weeks since my Freestyle Navigator died. Abbott Diabetes Care said that they would replace my receiver but they are on backorder. I am still waiting on that replacement.
My insurance requires preauthorization for me to get the sensors every three months. That process had already started when my receiver died and they shipped a week later. I never, ever expected to be sitting here two months later without a working receiver! I still had over a box of sensors left from my first order – those sensors expire in April. The sensors that came in February expire in June. I would have to have a working receiver to use the sensors that expire in June by April 1st – that is obviously not going to happen. Even if it did happen, I still have sensors that will expire before they can be used.
For some reason, when I meet my deductible for my DME, I don’t get statements showing what the insurance company paid. I did not get a statement when they paid for the Navigator because I had met my deductible. A little over a week ago, I received a statement for the February sensors. To add insult to injury, the supply company charged $750 a box for sensors. That is common for supply companies to bill far more than what they get paid. The supply company I buy test strips from charge over $90 for a box of strips that I can walk in WallyWorld and buy for $30. My insurance pays about $35 a box for those. You can buy the Navigator sensors for about $380-$400 cash. That is what I thought my insurance would pay for them – wrong! They paid the full $750. For six boxes, that was $4,500. I am currently sitting on over $5,000 worth of sensors and at least $1,000 of those will expire even if a Navigator showed up today.
I asked Abbott for my money back because they are not honoring their warranty – the Navigator only worked 11 weeks and I have been without for 8 weeks. I was told no. They seem to think they are honoring their warranty because I will get a replacement someday but they can’t tell me when. I brought up the sensors that will expire and I was told that they are working on that. I don’t consider being without a medical device for two months honoring their warranty.
I wanted a CGMS for two reasons. The first being I have gastroparesis and that makes it challenging to balance blood sugar and insulin. I am also hypo-unaware so pass out when my blood sugar drops too low. One time when that happened last fall before getting the Navigator, I was in the kitchen making breakfast. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the living room three hours later with blood all over my shirt. When you first regain consciousness from passing out with a bad low, it takes awhile before you figure out what is going on. After I got to the point I could move around, I went in the kitchen. Before passing out, I put eggs on the stove. Fortunately, I passed out before I turned the stove on or I would have burnt the place down. I apparently fell and hit something and the blood on my shirt was from my nose. I later ended up with a black eye.
I am back to living in fear again and have had a bunch of bad lows. One night last week, my blood sugar dropped to 13. I am not sure if I passed out or not, but since it was late and I had gone to bed, I “thought” I was sleeping – who knows! I panicked and ate a lot more glucose tablets than I probably really needed. Of course the next morning, I then woke up with blood sugar of over 400.
I had already let my insurance company know what was going on but decided to send them another letter. I sent them a picture of the 13 on my meter. I point blank asked them to get their money back from Abbott so I could get another CGMS. I had the paperwork for a Dexcom Seven Plus and am actually doing a trial this week. I had a doctor’s appointment the morning after the 13 so asked him to sign the paperwork for the Dex. I sent that along with my letter and Dexcom is working on processing that from their end.
I am usually one to just walk away and not file complaints with everyone, but Abbott’s actions are unbelievable. This is a medical device that they are selling that people depend on. Although not everyone that gets a CGMS is hypo-unaware, a lot of people that have them get them for that very reason. I am not the only person suffering from severe lows. A friend of mine told me to write my Congressman – I said I can’t because he died from a medical error (John Murtha).
I then decided to send an email to the Governor’s office. I also looked at the Attorney General’s website and decided to file a complaint there. Because I did not have the statement for what my insurance paid for the Navigator, I had to wait to call them this morning to get that information. They paid $640 for the transmitter and $900 for the receiver. I also have $5,625.00 worth of sensors. On the form for the Attorney General, they asked what resolution you want. I asked that Abbott have to refund $7,165.00. Of that amount, $500 should go to me for what I have to pay the supply company and the balance to my insurance company. I am also going to send my insurance company another letter letting them know that I filed a complaint with the Attorney General.
There was a doctor that posted on two message boards that is also on the waiting list for a replacement Navigator. She said that she filed a complaint with the FDA so I decided to do that this afternoon also.
I don’t know if Abbott realizes that with the internet, current Navigator user all over the country are banding together and making sure everyone is aware what Abbott is doing to their customers who rely on a medical device.