Insurance Nightmare

Hello my name is Tremayne Sirmons, and I am dying due to complications from my Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed with Diabetes December 26th, the day I will never forget. I was originally told that it was Type 2 Diabetes and that if I lose weight and eat better, then my health could improve. In Jan of the following year I was told, my life would become harder because not only was I Diabetic but I actually have what is called Juvenile Diabetes or Type 1. This meant no matter what I did, the only thing that would help me is if I took insulin injections. This was very traumatic news for me and my family, and the financial responsibility was outstanding. I later found out since I had insurance with Blue cross and Blue shield the financial burden would be less since most of the medical supplies were covered 100%. I received an insulin pump and supplies, and was allowed to live a normal life like so many around me, except I would always sleep, eat, and live with a pager by my side (insulin pump).


I was able to keep my full time job at an Engineering firm in Orlando; I started school part time at UCF, changing my major to Education due to the diabetes. I volunteered with different organizations like JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and the Coalition for the Homeless of Central FL. Life was rough, but I refused to let diabetes stop me, instead I let it influence me to make a difference in my community.


Life is a struggle for everyone and I was no different. Having Health Insurance made my life easier and had kept me from having many of the complications that come with diabetes. Almost 2yrs later I was told in December of that year I would be losing my health insurance due to the fact that I was a 26yr old college student on my parents Health plan. I find it funny that I have lost so many things in the month of December. That Month has become a time I don’t want to see and or wish I could skip.


PART 2: After losing my insurance life became very hard for me since I couldn’t find good coverage in enough time and the cost of new coverage was too much and I could not afford it. I now had a “pre-existing condition” and it made it tough to get coverage. My family life was affected due to my negative attitude about my illness and the fact that we all felt so helpless and hopeless since there was not much we could do. My insulin went from being $50.00 for a two month (3 vials) supply to costing over $162.00 per vial. Then my insulin pump was damaged due to a freak accident and it would cost over $5,000 to get a new one. Since I didn’t have insurance I could not afford to buy a new one. With all the problems and stress I was facing I had to drop out of school, with only a year left to get my Bachelors in Education, and I also had to quit my job because the stress of life was affecting my work performance. I became very sad and unhappy and begin to skip doctor’s appointments because I couldn’t afford to make the visits. My glucose/blood sugar levels rose very high because I could not afford the supplies that once helped me manage my diabetes.


Depression set in and I just felt hopeless all the time. I then had vision problems because I couldn’t go to the eye doctor for regular checkups and I begin to show early stages of blindness. I stopped seeking medical help due to cost; I also began to have sores and ulcers on my foot. Those ulcers unfortunately turned to infections which spread throughout my leg and I had to have it amputated. This has been a nightmare for me and I still can’t understand how did this happen. At one time things were fine not perfect, but I had decent insurance that allowed me to live normally. Today I met a person who was diagnosed with diabetes, they saw me and asked, “what happened?”  When I told them my story, they were afraid they could end up like me. I reassured them that as long as you have good insurance you will be fine. I still don’t know how this could happen to me, with all the potential I was blessed with. I could have avoided all these complications if I had affordable healthcare or could have chosen not to have diabetes. My life has become such a nightmare.


But wait this is a Nightmare, PART 2 of my story has yet to be written. I have learned that I am blessed to have diabetes since it is an illness with complications that can be avoided. PART 2 of my life doesn’t have to happen if I keep good health insurance. It doesn’t have to happen to me or anybody else if there was affordable health care.

Please let me know what you can do to stop my life from becoming PART 2




Tremayne L. Sirmons


Nahum 1:7

Type 1 Diabetic =)

You don't have to have insurance to be a diabetic, but it definitely makes it easier.  When I was without insurance for about 10 years I did shots because they were cheaper and used a generic meter that has cheaper test strips.  There are free health clinics in Orlando that can help you get free or severely discounted insulin.  Did a social worker not help you when you were in the hospital having your amputation?  Here is a link to clinics in your area.  You're also probably eligible for care through Medicaid, so check with the Department of Human Service (Dept. of Social Services, etc.) for information.



Most colleges have student health insurance which you can buy when you are no longer eligible for your parent's plan. COBRA coverage is also worth it to avoid those nasty preexisting condition clauses.  

you can't buy COBRA forever, and you can't buy it if there is a lapse.   

but still - NPH and regular insulin kept me alive for 29 years (complications free I might add)  with good 'ol syringes.  I think it's somewhere around 50-75 bucks a month for this treatment.

I don't know what the world would look like with affordable health care for all...  I do think that you are talking about an evolution that would take longer than you have left to live, if you are waiting for an all-inclusive all coverage perfect and perfectly fair system.  IMO, it might be time to think about alternatives to being saved by a government run system.

cheers and good luck

Im sorry, the PART 2 of my note has not happened. I have not lost any limbs or had any major computations with my diabetes. I was writing that as an example of what could possibly happen if I lost insurance. I pray that my "Nightmare" life scenario will not happen to anyone. I was using that story b/c the part about me losing insurance in December is true, but I have realized Diabetes is an illness that has controllable compications if a person is given proper treatment. I want to send this letter to Pres. Obama and my insurance company.

That was what I understood, which is why my comments are applicable. 

Also, re: COBRA and a lapse - it is true that you can't buy COBRA if there's a lapse of greater than sixty days. 

Under COBRA, an employee has 60 days to decide whether to continue coverage under his old job and another 45 days to pay the first premium.

Read more: Is There a Lapse in Health Care Coverage Before COBRA? |

Now that I'm done having a heart attack, I'm glad to see all your limbs are intact and you aren't dying. :o)

I'm facing the same thing as you - my insurance will be up in December. I originally lost it July 1 because that was the month I turned 26, but in September it was reinstated until the end of the year.

I am currently looking for full-time jobs, so I can have insurance after December. I temporarily had insurance through Iowa State University, but lost it when I was no longer a student. I have already made the decision to use COBRA should I not have benefits through a job by January. While it is expensive (it will cost me $500/month), I would rather spend the money on the insurance than not have any at all (my prescriptions cost $1600/month without insurance). Even though I am a dietitian, I am also looking for positions outside my major so that I can have full-time employment at the end of the year. There is nothing saying I can't continue looking for work elsewhere.

I would encourage you to do the same. If you are still in school, get insurance through your school. If you have graduated, consider getting COBRA. Look for full-time employment with benefits, so you don't have to go without insurance. In the long run, you will be glad you had it.

[quote user="ajax"]

That was what I understood, which is why my comments are applicable. 

Also, re: COBRA and a lapse - it is true that you can't buy COBRA if there's a lapse of greater than sixty days. 


good info ajax, thanks.