On Friday, it was announced that the company I work for – a mid-size pharmaceutical company – is being acquired by a monster-sized pharmaceutical company. We all knew this was coming – the headlines had speculated for weeks about which company it would be that bought us out, and our company had admitted to hiring advisors to help them with the sale. This is typical in the pharma world: a smaller company with great products always get bought out by one of the big guys.
I’m a little sad about it, but mostly nostalgic. I’ve worked here for six years, and watched as this company built itself up, based on good science and putting patients first. I weathered the cutbacks of the financial crisis, and I’ve gone from being a 23-year-old in an entry level job to having a serious career in my six years here. I’m also a firm believer in the idea that when one door closes, another door – or several doors- opens up. My fiancé and I have a healthy savings account, we don’t have kids or a mortgage yet, and overall, I’ve made peace with the fact that this is the end of an era. I’m excited for what the future holds. And I should note, as of today, nothing has changed yet with people’s jobs and might not for several months. In fact, everyone might keep their jobs – we don’t know any of that info yet.
But although in my rational mind I know that everything is going to be ok, there’s a part of me that worries: it’s the part of me that’s always had insurance. I started my first job after college two weeks after my graduation, because I had to ensure I was covered. My current company makes diabetes medications, and I have my pump supplies, CGM supplies, strips, and insulin all completely covered by my company’s insurance. I literally haven’t paid a dime for diabetes related care or supplies in years. My fridge is stocked with insulin, and a hefty bag of test strips sits among the other components of my well-stocked “diabetes shelf” in the hall closet. These supplies are comfort to me. They are security. They are, after all, what I need to live every day. And if my job disappears, my ability to get these supplies becomes limited. That thought alone is enough to give me anxiety.
I know that everything will be ok. If needed, I have enough savings to buy my supplies over the counter. Not for forever – but for a long time. And if push ever came to shove, my parents would lend a hand as a last resort. I know I’m lucky to even have those resources, let alone great insurance. But just knowing there’s even the possibility of not having access to my meds or having to drastically change the regimen that works so well for me right now is upsetting. It’s upsetting because I hate being dependent on insurance. I hate being forced to prioritize benefits over everything else. I hate that I had to start a corporate job right out of school instead of traveling or bartending or joining the Peace Corps all because I needed coverage. I think any moment where you feel like diabetes is coercing a choice is a moment you feel like diabetes is winning.
But at the end of the day, I also know that there are certain things with this disease that are out of my control. Insulin is a must – that’s never going to change. I do have the power to control other aspects of this disease and my health though. And I have the power to plan ahead. So no matter what happens, I need to remind myself that I’m not the first person who has ever been through times of uncertainty when it comes to their healthcare. For now, I need to make peace with that uncertainty, and see what opportunity lies next.