Six Pumps That Can Be Purchased New Through Private Health Insurance
Diabetic Living Australia|March - April 2021
It can be tough keeping up with diabetes technology, so we asked blogger David Burren of Bionic Wookiee to explain what’s currently available
David Burren

For new pumps to be available in Australia, the first hurdle they need to clear is registration with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), after which doctors and suppliers are legally allowed to talk about them. The next hurdle is getting the pumps on the government’s Prostheses List, so they’re eligible for supply by health insurance.

Most people don’t want to pay outright for their pump and rely on health insurance. The insurers don’t care which pump it is, as long as it’s on the list. The Prostheses List is updated several times a year on a regular cycle. There are changes to this list every year, but at the time of writing, there are six pumps that can be purchased new through private health insurance:

  • Accu-Chek Combo

  • Accu-Chek Solo

  • Tandem t: slim X2 (although sales are currently on hold)

  • Mylife YpsoPump

  • Medtronic MiniMed 670G and MiniMed 770G

Once you have a pump, you will need to pay for the consumables. NDSS subsidizes the reservoirs and infusion sets for all the above pumps (as long as you’re registered as a pump user), which is a huge cost saving.

We see people talking about pumps available in other markets (such as the US), but we do have a reasonable selection here. Note that some pumps used overseas do not fit this model. For example, in the case of the OmniPod, there’s essentially no ‘pump’ for the insurer to buy for you; all the cost is in the consumables – a new pump every three days. This may be the main reason that the OmniPod is not available in Australia.

A note about ‘closed-loop’ systems, which use your CGM data to dynamically adjust your pump’s delivery of insulin. These are not the mythical complete ‘artificial pancreas’ replacement, but they do add a lot of automation to help you manage your diabetes. Several pumps in this article integrate commercial closed-loop systems, and some others are supported by unofficial DIY systems.

Accu-Chek Combo

This pump is a relatively old design, but it has proven a reliable performer over the years. The system comprises a pump along with a BG meter, which is used as a remote control so the pump doesn't have to be taken out of your pocket with normal use.

The pump can be used with any of the Roche/Accu-Chek infusion sets, along with the Cleo 90, the Orbit sets, and several of the Medtronic sets.

The Combo can also be integrated into the unofficial AndroidAPS software to form a closed-loop system.

Accu-Chek Solo

This tubeless patch pump has multiple components, starting with a cannula patch onto which the pump clips, as well as a phone-sized handset.

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