Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Short bowel free trade

One of the interesting things that we learned from the short bowel folks at the Oley conference is that many of the medical supplies that we get for Ellie by prescription through insurance are also available on the internet and even Ebay.

For example a fresh g-tube, which costs somewhere around $1400 for Blue Cross to buy can be had on Ebay for around $30.

Likewise, the cases of special Elecare formula that Ellie is blowing through these days at the rate of a can every two days, go for around $300 for six cans. If you use Ebay, around $20 will get you a can.

This all drives home the fact that we are extremely fortunate that my insurance is so good. Paying for Ellie's supplies is an abstract thing for us since we make a phone call, order what we need (including a $1400 g-tube each month to replace the worn out one) and magically it appears on our doorstep the next morning. Today for example, three boxes arrived with 16 cans of Elecare, a g-tube, and some other accessories. no bill. Nothing but a packing slip.

Ahhh. Blue Cross and Medicaid. Two of my favorite things.

The thought of having to budget for these things and possibly change how we treat her based on cost is a scary thought for me but I know that it is a reality for a lot of families out there.

I am certain that we won't be going the Ebay route if we find ourselves with a surplus of anything if Ellie move son to another formula or another g-tube size. The Oley Foundation has a central clearinghouse for extra gear, formula and other things that can be exchanged among the SBS community. 'Free' to me means free to the next person who might need it. Turning a profit on someone else's need just doesn't seem right to me.

If you know someone that is new to the short bowel world, it is definitely worth looking up oley.org to learn about their equipment exchange. Short Bowel sucks enough without being expensive, too.

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