I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 15 months old. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body cannot produce insulin on its own. Without insulin, I would not be able to live.

During my childhood, there were times when my family did not have insurance because we couldn’t afford coverage. Luckily, when I was a teenager, I was able to receive health insurance through MaineCare. MaineCare made it possible for me to continue using an insulin pump that helped me prevent health complications.

When I no longer qualified for MaineCare, I struggled to pay for the supplies I needed to keep myself alive. At that time, I was a full-time college student and was working two jobs.

I hit a breaking point when the insulin pump I had been using for years began to fail. I looked at different options and found out that it would cost more than $9,000 to get a new insulin pump.

There were days when I worried that I would have to drop out of college so I could work and try to save enough money to purchase a new pump.

Luckily for me, when the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace opened in Maine, I was able to find a plan that covered my insulin, a new pump and my endocrinologist. This was truly life-changing for me.

Today, many people in Maine don’t have options that I have — they don’t qualify for MaineCare or subsidies in the health insurance marketplace. No one should have to struggle to treat a chronic condition because of lack of insurance. I urge lawmakers to support the current legislation pending in Augusta and accept the federal funds to expand access to health insurance.

Alyra Donisvitch

Manchester

filed under: