Cash Infusion: Saving Money on insulin pump infusion sets.

5 minute read
Posted by Kelly Evans, Type 1 '72, Pumper '15 on Jun 28, 2018 1:19:45 PM
Kelly Evans, Type 1 '72, Pumper '15

Everyone likes to save money. As diabetics, it’s even more important, as we have all the extra ‘stuff’ to purchase. Lancets, pen needles, insulin, alcohol swabs, pump supplies, more than the average person. And I know my diabetic friends, all of whom have been conquering the disease daily for 25 years or more, have little tips and short cuts.

How many of these do you do?

  •  reuse blood glucose lancets until they’re so blunt your fingertips hurt (I know this is a common occurrence, there are even social media memes!)
  • keep your infusion set in that extra day or two (not recommended, by the way – the body doesn’t really like having foreign objects inserted and wilfully tries to eject anything that it thinks doesn't belong, including an infusion set. After about three days, there is a chance your insulin won’t be delivered as it should).
  • skip the alcohol wipes
  • using the same blood glucose monitor until the screen is so scratched you can barely see the results (hey, if it works, why change? I get it)
  • travel kilometres out of your way to get to that one shop selling the batteries you want for your pump because they’re on sale

Confession Time: years ago, when pumps were still a glint in their inventor’s eye, syringes were the only way to take insulin. I discovered fairly early that the needle part of the syringe can be removed. I also discovered that they make fantastic thumb tacks. My teen room was covered in posters, all held up by syringe needles. My mother thought it was a bit creepy, my dad loved it, and hey, they left smaller holes in the plaster than normal, boring tacks or nails!

We’re always on the look-out for bargains or ways to save money on supplies. When deep in search mode, we transform from lovely individuals our friends and family (and pets) love to be around, to research-mad searchers, following every link and recommendation for those sweet, sweet sales.

Medtronic pumpers, this one's for you!

So, here’s a little secret not many know, a little summer gift of knowledge from me to you: if you’re using a Medtronic pump, you can save loads of lovely money on your infusion sets. Let me explain.

You know those times, usually not long after you’ve changed your infusion set and you’ve got a nearly full reservoir, that you yank the site out? That sticky bit that either peels off at the slightest hint of moisture or clings to you like a man dangling one-handed from a cliff? If you’re anything like me, one of these has probably already happened to you:

  • pulled out while using the facilities
  • pulled out by a curious pet (in my case, a cat – my cat is fascinated by the tubing on my infusion sets)
  • pulled out through use of a particularly vigorous body scrub
  • pulled out by nefarious doorknob
  • pulled out by vengeful house elf

Okay, I made that last one up, but the others happened. And you DO now need to change the infusion set. This is what I do. I use the Medtronic® mio® infusion sets. When the cannula  gets pulled out prematurely, I just disconnect the tubing, the one still attached to my pump, from the now pulled-out cannula. I then attach the identical and less expensive Tandem® Autosoft™ 90, which has the exact same site connector as the mio®, disconnect the tubing (I only want the cannula part that sticks to my body), and plug the tubing still attached to my pump back in, this time to the Tandem cannula. Now I fill my cannula and I am good to go! I have saved money and insulin!

The price difference IS dramatic. Don’t believe me? Here’s a chart comparing Medtronic sets to their Tandem counterparts:

 Medtronic vs Tandem Option 2

As you can see, the savings certainly add up.

You may find, with just living your day-to-day life, your sets come out, well, a lot. When you begin to use the Tandem infusion sets on these occasions, you may find you have Medtronic sets piling up. No problem. If you use the Medtronic auto ship option, you can easily contact customer service and ask for the option to be halted. YOU then decide how much you need, and when you want it.

Tandem infusion sets are only available through your pharmacy or through the online shop.    (Pro-tip: ordering your supplies from your pharmacy will quite often save you even more money + sometimes get you loyalty points). This link will provide more information, including an online tool to help you select the Tandem infusion set that has the identical and completely interchangeable site connection to the Medtronic infusion set you're using.

It’s also reassuring to know that use of Tandem infusion sets will not void the warranty on your Medtronic pump.

What to do with extra tubing...

Before I go, here’s a little bonus fun! Things you can do with your extra infusion set tubing:

  •  tie plant stems to posts
  • make tubey bracelets or necklaces – if you can inject a tiny bit of dye or glitter inside the tube, so much the better! or add some funky beads, hours of fun for everyone.
  • combine enough of them and bam, instant magic lasso just like Wonder Woman! (well, sort of)
  • make a really tiny dog leash
  • use to practise knots for very small sailing ships
  • braid them to make even bigger sections of tubes
  • weave together to make a really small macramé wall hanging

Okay, I think that’s enough, but you get the idea. Those of a craftier bent than myself should be able to come up with all sorts of ideas.

Finding new ways to save money is nice, but discovering a way to save money on your diabetic supplies? That’s awesome!

To learn more about how much you can save on your infusion sets, check out the link below. 


 Still not sure exactly how Kelly is saving hundreds of dollars each year on her infusion sets?

Watch this.



 Click here to start saving! 

Tags: children with diabetes, diabetes community, life with diabetes, being attached to an insulin pump, Medtronic insulin pump, lower cost infusion sets, cost savings, pharmacy, diabetes tips, infusion set tips, infusion set savings, diabetes costs, insulin pump, infusion sets, type 1 diabetes


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