Insulin pumps are costly items but may be possible to fund for some households.
Those considering buying an insulin pump should consider not only the cost of the pump, including the monthly consumables, accessories and insurance but, importantly, how you will receive the required insulin pump centred care.
Most people in the UK who have a pump have it funded by the NHS.
If you have an insulin pump on the NHS , you may need to cover some of the costs which may include insurance, accessories and, in the case of some pumps, glucose sensors as well.
Insulin pump costs
The cost of insulin pumps is often between £2000 and £3000.
NICE guidance in 2008 records the following costs of insulin pumps:
- Johnson & Johnson – Animas 2020 – £2600
- Medtronic – Paradigm real-Time MMT-522 – £2750
- Medtronic – Paradigm real-Time MMT-722 – £2750
- Roche – Accu-Chek Spirit – £2375
- Deltec Cozmo – £2750
Newer insulin pumps are now available but prices of most pumps have stayed within similar price boundaries.
Where can I buy an insulin pump?
In the UK, you will need to choose which insulin pump is right for you and then and contact the insulin pump manufacturer.
If you do not meet the clinical criteria for having an insulin pump via the NHS and you wish to purchase an insulin pump, you will need to check whether your diabetes clinic is able to and happy to provide all the care you may need.
Please note that you should not expect your NHS clinic to necessarily have the resources to cover the care for a patient with a pump bought privately, in which case you will need to arrange diabetes care with a private diabetologist that is qualified to care for people with insulin pumps.
It’s important to arrange how you will receive care before you go ahead and purchase an insulin pump.
If you are considering buying an insulin pump because you have had an initial request turned down from the NHS, it can be worth persevering. See our guide to getting an insulin pump for advice on improving your chances of getting a pump on the NHS
Cost of consumables
The cost of consumables, including tubing, cannulas, batteries and reservoirs are a significant additional expense and can typically cost around £1,000 to £2,000 per year.
The following list gives a typical breakdown of costs. Note that prices may vary significantly between different pumps.
- Insulin pump reservoirs – £1.50 – £3 per reservoir
- Pump batteries – £3 – £15
- Infusion sets (inc cannula and tubing) – £5 – £15 per set
- Skin dressings – £0.50 – £2 per dressing
- Adhesives – £0.20 – £0.30 per adhesive
- Antiseptic skin prep – £0.10 – £0.20 per antiseptic wipe
Sprays and creams may also be needed to help with applying and removing infusion sets and avoiding skin irritation.
If your insulin pump doubles up as a continuous glucose monitor , you will usually need to fund these whether you pump is NHS or privately funded. Glucose sensors may cost upwards of and £50 per sensor.
Cost of extra accessories
You may need or wish to buy additional accessories including pouches to hold your pump securely on your body.
A range of pouches are available including:
- Waist worn pump pouches
- Bra held pump pouches
- Arm band pump pouches
- Thigh band pump pouches
- Waterproof pump pouches for showering
Insulin pump pouches are available in all sorts of different designs and typically cost between £10 and £20 per pouch.
Cost of insuring an insulin pump
If you get an insurance pump on the NHS, check whether your pump is already insured. If it is not insured, you will either need to insure the pump yourself or risk losing the pump if it is lost or damaged.
It is possible that your home insurance and travel insurance may cover your insurance pump but don’t assume that this is the case. If you are unsure, call the insurance companies to check.
If you are not covered by any of the above, you can buy specific insulin pump insurance , for which you may expect to pay in the region of £50 – £100 a year.