My insurance premium went up. How can I find out the reason for the increase?

Consumers frequently ask us this question. Your agent or insurer should be able to provide you with an explanation other than �there was a general rate increase.� We recommend that you obtain a policy-specific premium breakdown directly from your agent, and that you ask for a rate worksheet comparison between your old premium and your new premium. 

Every policy is priced differently, depending upon the type of coverage you want and what are called underwriting factors.

Underwriting factors for auto insurance may include:

  • Household/family driver records.
  • Driver(s) age(s).
  • Type of vehicle(s).
  • The number of miles you drive per year.
  • Where you live and/or drive your car.
  • Level of coverage being purchased
  • There may be surcharges or discounts unique to your situation.
Underwriting factors for homeowner�s insurance may include:
  • The age of your home.
  • The materials used to build your home.
  • Your home�s value, as based upon its size and features.
  • Your home�s location.
  • Prior claims or losses for the home.
Read more about understanding auto insurance and understanding home insurance.

Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

Yesterday I received a press release touting a certain brand of beet juice as a way to prevent type 2 diabetes. This beet juice contained all sorts of magical and medicinal properties and claimed to cure what ails you
Look, I have no doubt that beet juice has lots of vitamins and might have some medical properties.
I believe that certain foods, spices and herbs are good for us.
Mint is great if your stomach is upset and Valerian/chamomile tea helps if you're having trouble falling asleep. 
Caffeine wakes me up in the morning and prevents me from bitch zombie like tendencies for the rest of the day. 
And turmeric is supposedly very good for inflammation, but I'd still check with my Dr. if said supplement interacted negatively with any of your current medications, including blood thinners. 

As far as cinnamon - it's always been one of my favorite spices since I was little and I'm not even going "there."

Lastly, I feel better when I eat foods that aren't processed and made with ingredients I can pronounce and aren't found in a chemistry class. 

 But HELL'S NO, I'm not going to tout beet juice as a preventative pre-diabetes or t2 measure, based on a marketing press release from a beet juice company that links said claims to one 'experimental sciences,' study - so stop spamming my inbox and taking up my bandwidth! 

Instead, I highly recommend that if someone you love is worried about developing t2, have them set up an appointment with an Endo who works with a Certified Diabetes Educator. 
If someone you know/love is concerned about pre -diabetes, have them click DoIHavePreDiabetes.Org and they take a one minute test that will give them the answer.
And then have them get schedule an appointment with an Endo.

And FTR, I seriously considered sending this as  the response to the PR.

Sorry Dwight, but beet juice doesn't cut it!
Photo credit and courtesy of Cheezburger.com 



And The Winner of The American Girl Diabetes Care Kit, Diabetesalicious Giveaway Is.....

And the winner of the Diabetesaliciousness American Girl Diabetes Care Kit, is....
I know I was supposed to announce the winner of the American Girl Diabetes Care Kit on Friday, but like much of the east coast, super storm Jonas messed with my jam in a major way - please accept my apologies~ 
For the record, coastal flooding in the winter is very real and very destructive and I do not wish it on anyone.

Luckily, I survived mostly unscathed, except for a busted water heater. 
With that being said, I'm pleased to announce  the winner of the Diabetesaliciousness American Girl Diabetes Care Kit, Giveaway is..........
Leigh Fickling! 
Leigh, CONGRATS and please shoot me an email (kellykunik(at)gmail(dot)com ,) with your mailing address so I can forward it to the folks at American Girl. 
And for those who didn't win, I will continue to look for fun giveaways here at Diabetealiciousness and good luck next time!
Lastly, big thanks to American Girl for creating such wonderful Diabetes Care Kit for your dolls and the children who love them - and for being so generous in providing a kit for the Diabetesaliciousness giveaway. 
American Girl 's Diabetes Care Kit is empowering and is an excellent diabetes teaching tool and I'm so grateful and glad that your company created such an amazing and wonderful Diabetes Care Kit! 

If you find yourself the subject of an insurance fraud investigation, the best thing to do is cooperate

Our consumer advocates respond to thousands of inquiries from Washington consumers each year. Sometimes, we hear from people who are the subject of an insurance company fraud investigation.

Most consumers we talk to are surprised to find out that insurers have the right and responsibility to investigate potentially fraudulent insurance claims. If an insurance company flags a claim as high risk for fraud, consumers are contacted by the company�s special investigations unit (SIU).

Being the subject of a fraud investigation can be unnerving, and many consumers are bewildered and angered by SIU actions of their insurers. Consumers who contact us generally feel the company is infringing on their rights; however, that is not the case. We advise consumers to cooperate with the company�s investigation; most policies state that consumers are required to cooperate with any investigations, or they forfeit their rights outlined in the insurance policy.

Insurance fraud is a crime in Washington state, so if you are being investigated, it�s best to cooperate and provide any documentation you can to support the facts in your claim.

If an insurance company�s SIU finds evidence that a crime occurred, they forward the case to Commissioner Kreidler�s SIU, which conducts an investigation and works with the state Attorney General�s Office and local law enforcement to prosecute people who are suspected of committing insurance fraud.

In 2015, Kreidler�s SIU received nearly 1,700 fraud referrals and obtained 22 felony guilty pleas or convictions. Approximately 10 cents of every dollar consumers pay toward insurance premiums pays for a fraudulent insurance claim.

Read more about Kreidler�s SIU
Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

Healthcare and Frostbite

Cold weather is fast approaching and may already be where you are now! Have you ever been so cold that you thought body parts were frozen and ready to fall off? Frostbite is a deadly serious health issue and is common where temperatures get very low, especially during the winter months. Some areas of the world are more prone to frigid weather, and the fear of getting frozen flesh is very real.

When the storms howl and the ice and snow get deep, often the temps get very cold. Wind chill is also a factor that takes the real temperature to a much colder �feels like� temperature. That can be dangerous. If your exposed to bitter cold for too long, you can develop frost bite.

The elderly and children are especially at risk during very cold weather. According to KidsHealth.org, frostbite is, literally, frozen body tissue � usually the skin, but sometimes deeper tissue. It must be managed carefully to prevent permanent tissue damage. The varying degrees of frostbite are based on how deep the tissue injury goes. Mild cases affect a superficial area of the skin, while the most severe cases can go all the way down to the muscle and bone. The areas most prone to frostbite are the head, face, ears, hands, and feet.

Kids are at greater risk for frostbite than most adults, both because they lose heat from their skin more rapidly and because they're often reluctant to leave their winter fun to go inside and warm up. Frostbite needs medical attention from a health care provider. More info on this topic is found at this website: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/frostbite.html.

According to the National Institutes for Health, symptoms of frostbite include the following:
         Pins and needles feeling, followed by numbness
         Hard, pale, and cold skin that has been exposed to the cold for too long
         Aching, throbbing or lack of feeling in the affected area
         Red and extremely painful skin and muscle as the area thaws
         Very severe frostbite may cause:
         Blisters
         Gangrene (blackened, dead tissue)
         Damage to tendons, muscles, nerves, and bone

Frostbite may affect any part of the body. The hands, feet, nose, and ears are the places most prone to the problem.
         If the frostbite did not affect your blood vessels, a complete recovery is possible.
         If the frostbite affected the blood vessels, the damage is permanent. Gangrene may occur. This may require removal of the affected body part (amputation).

A person with frostbite on the arms or legs may also have hypothermia (lowered body temperature). Much more detailed information is located at this site: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000057.htm.

The University of Maryland Medical Center has published info on who is most at risk for getting frostbite. These factors increase the risk for frostbite:
         Intoxication with alcohol or other substances
         Very young or very old age
         Cardiovascular disease
         Peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of blood vessels in the extremities)
         Poor circulation
         Taking beta-blockers
         Diabetes
         Hypothyroidism
         Exhaustion, hunger, malnutrition, or dehydration
         Winter sports, especially at high altitudes
         Outdoor work
         Windy and or wet weather
         Homelessness
         Severe injury
         Smoking
         Depression
         Previous frostbite
         Skin damage
         Constricting clothing and footwear

If you are going to be outside in cold temperatures, it's essential to prevent frostbite. Take these steps to keep warm:
         Wear several layers of warm clothing that allow you to move while providing protection from wind and water.
         Wear dry, warm gloves, socks, and insulated boots. Hands and feet account for 90 percent of injuries.
         Replace wet clothes immediately.
         Cover your head, preferably with earflaps, in extreme conditions. About 30% of heat loss occurs through the head.
         Drink plenty of fluids and eat plenty of food during lengthy outings. Do not drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or drink caffeine.
         Watch for the development of white patches on the face and ears of your companions. These may signal frostbite.

Frostbite is a medical emergency. It is important to get conventional medical care as soon as possible. For more detailed material, go to this site: http://umm.edu/Health/Medical-Reference-Guide/Complementary-and-Alternative-Medicine-Guide/Condition/Frostbite.

If you need to be traveling on the road in severe cold weather, here are some safety tips from the Loudon County, Virginia sheriff�s office for you if you�re driving in winter weather. Following these guidelines may help prevent your need to get outside of your vehicle if you have any problems on the road:

         Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to make the trip, ensure someone is aware of your route of travel.
         Always keep the gas tank topped off. When it gets to half, fill it up.
         Turn on your headlights.
         Carry a cellular phone. Your cell phone can be used during emergencies and for notifying those expecting your arrival in case there are weather delays.
         Always buckle-up. Your seat belt can be the best protection against drivers who are tense and in a hurry because of weather conditions.
         Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights - even the hood and roof - before driving.
         Pay attention. Don't try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
         Leave plenty of room for stopping.
         Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows - stay back a safe stopping distance and don't pass on the right.
         Know the current road conditions. Make sure you have your highway patrol rescue number plugged into your phone.
         Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time to stop in adverse conditions.
         Watch for slippery bridges, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridges will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement.
         Don't use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control feature can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
         Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that your four-wheel drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but it won't help you stop any faster. 

Frostbite is not something you want to experience; but if you feel that you or someone you are with is showing symptoms, seek treatment immediately and don�t delay if at all possible. Your health and life are at risk.


Until next time.

American Girl Diabetes Care Kit Review & Giveaway

Very cool and incredibly detailed, American Girl Diabetes Care Kit~
Two years ago, the then 11 year old Anje Busse created a Change.Org petition asking American Girl to create a line of Diabetes accessories for their dolls. And that's exactly what American Girl did~
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Like everyone else in the DOC, I was thrilled when I heard the news that American Girl had created and was launching the American Girl Diabetes Care Kit for their line of �Truly Me� Dolls.  
I reached out to AG and they were kind enough to send me my very own American Girl Diabetes Care Kit. 
My very own American Girl Diabetes Care Kit~
The kit comes fully loaded with diabetes accessories and I am so incredibly impressed with the details and thought that went into creating the diabetes accessories.
The logbook has a stitched back binder, the insulin pump has a clip and arrow keys, and from the BG number on the pump�s screen, I've come to the conclusion that it also has CGM capabilities.   
The tube of glucose tabs look just like the tubes of glucose tabs I keep in my car and my gym bag. 
The medical ID bracelet is pretty and perfect for a young doll with Type 1 diabetes. Sidebar: I believe that an American Girl Doll who wears a medical ID bracelet will encourage the little girl who loves her, to wear their own medical ID bracelet/ necklace. 

And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that American Girl included an insulin pen in their Diabetes Care Kit because just like real life, your diabetes may vary and not every little girl wears an insulin pump. 
The kit�s meter has a test strip already inserted, the number on the screen matches the number on the insulin pump, and a lancing device. 
All the diabetes accessories fit nicely into the kit�s carrying case, which has a working zipper and ID Card all ready for you and your doll to fill out. FYI: when I spilled water, I discovered the kit�s bag was water resistant.
And now for more awesomeness: The folks at American Girl have generously agreed to Diabetesaliciousness American Girl Diabetes Care Kit, giveaway. 

How to win: leave a comment on the blog stating why you�d like to win an American Girl Diabetes Care Kit  - the winner will be announced on Friday afternoon and will be chosen by Random.org. 

Who can win: Anyone with diabetes no matter the age, or who has a child/loves a child with diabetes. 
Also, if you're a T1 parent/auntie/uncle, godparent with diabetes, I think that the American GirlDiabetes  Care Kit is an excellent teaching tool for the children in your life to learn about living with diabetes! 

**Please make sure you your blogger ID contain your email address, or leave your email address in your comment. If I can't contact you, or if I don't hear from you by Midnight on Monday, January 25th, I will be forced to choose a new winner. 

American Girl Diabetes Care Kit costs $24, comes with a blood sugar monitor, lancing device, insulin pump, insulin pen, medical bracelet, glucose tablets, log book, I.D. card, stickers, and a carrying case. 
The kit is available at americangirl.com, at all American Girl retail locations, or by calling 1-800-845-0005

Diabetes Annoyance #993,599 & Considering Myself A Lucky Duck~

Because even though it was incredibly annoying, I'd discovered the issue while it was still only an inconvenience and before it turned into a major problem. 
And every now and then, I think we need to remind ourselves that diabetes annoyances and inconveniences are just that - and be thankful that they didn't turn into the huge problem they had the potential to become~ 
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My blood sugar was 278 post meal and right before bed last night, which was really strange because I'd eaten salmon, veggies and a bit of sweet potato for dinner, and that meal usually has the opposite effect on me. 
 So I grabbed my trusty pump to do a correction bolus, but decided to take a peak at my less than 3 hours old infusion site, first...  and I�m so glad I did. 
Because when I lifted up my shirt and looked down, I saw purplish skin peaking through the clear plastic window part - and I was not amused. A lump had formed under the skin of the new site and I knew what had to be done.
11 pm, a second sight change before bed (not optimal, but necessary,) a waste of a precious resources including; abdomen real estate, a pricy infusion set, and insulin, and all I wanted to do was go to bed. 
I pulled out the site and of course it started bleeding a bloody trail, because why wouldn�t it?  
I cleaned up, scrubbed the blood off my fluffy, warm sweatshirt and changed my site, did a correction bolus and then decided to be useful. In the grand scheme of things, I knew it could have been so much worse - the past week had been a reminder of that. 

For the next 15 minutes, I transferred the clothes from my bedroom hamper into the washing machine - one less step for tomorrow nights laundry. Put away the clean dishes that had been drying in the dish rack and cleaned my kitchen sink so it was all nice and shiny, then prepped the coffeemaker with the next morning�s coffee and water. 
All I would need to do when I woke up was turn it on. 
I set the alarm clock on my phone and plugged it in for a charge, then grabbed the copy of  �The Goldfinch,� from my desk, sat in bed and finally cracked open.
26 minutes later and deep into what I think is going to be a very great book, I checked my blood sugar. 215 flashed on my glucose meter - things were going in the right direction and crisis averted, I was tired and ready to go to sleep and now I could.
Plus I finally had a chance to start "The Goldfinch." WINNING.  
And lucky for me, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
This morning went off without a hitch, except for the 19 degree temperature and howling winds - and I am a lucky duck, indeed~ 

Oh, and speaking of lucky ducks - tomorrow there's a giveaway on the blog ;)  

A Week Filled With Tears

This week has and had me crying for others  - people I loved and never met, people I loved and knew and or know. 
This week had/has me screaming "fuck cancer," from the top of my lungs and in quiet whispers
For me, this week wasn't about diabetes
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So much loss and heartache this week because of cancer. 
Famous names that we grew up with, who inspired and entertained us in the process.  
And people we love from our very own Diabetes Online Community.  A funny, beautiful, smart, brave little girl named Kate , whose mom is a DOC friend and fellow t1.
Over the years and because of the DOC, I�ve had the pleasure to watch Kate grow, become, and then bravely battle cancer. And like many, I was thrilled when I thought she was out of the woods - and heartbroken when I suddenly found out she wasn't.
Writing blog posts took a back seat this week, because every time I sat down to write - no words would come.
This week had me continually in tears and reminded me that cancer doesn�t care about your age, income, or remission status. 
This week brought back the hurt of cancer taking my uncle 6 months ago and reminded me of friends who are currently battling cancer, friends who have loved ones currently in the trenches or who lost loved ones in battles past.
This week reinforced the fact that cancer doesn�t care if you�re a rock star; actor, a familiar voice, a friendly face from the past, a husband, or a little four and a half year old girl who loved dinosaurs   


This morning I did something that made me feel like I was somehow helping.
I went to http://www.stillbrave.org/donate.html, a site designated by Kate's family, and made a donation - it wasn�t large because I�m on a budget - but it made me feel like I was doing something to help. 
If you can donate, great. If you can't, I understand and that's OK. 
But please take a moment and stop by Prayers For Kate's Facebook page  and send your love,prayers and support to Kate's family - they need it. And do the same for other families in your circles who are currently dealing with cancer, or who know the loss that cancer brings first hand - because we are in this together.
Xoxo. 

***Late last night I was informed of another little boy with connections to the DOC who passed away from cancer and I will update this post when I have more info.

On This Day In Diabetes History: Leonard Thompson - The Boy Who Lived

Leonard Thompson  - First Person With Diabetes to receive insulin .
Photo courtesy of "Brought to life," Science Museum of London
It was 94 years ago, today (January 11th, 1922,) that Dr. Frederick Banting gave the first injection of insulin to a 14 year old Canadian boy named Leonard Thompson.
Thompson, at a scant 65 pounds and near death, was drifting in and out of a diabetic coma in Toronto�s General Hospital. 
His parents were beyond desperate and allowed their son to be injected with the experimental drug known as insulin. The first injection caused an allergic reaction, but two weeks later (and after James Collip developed a refining process,) on January 23rd, 1922, Leonard received another injection that and his life was saved. 
Leonard lived until the age of 27, and passed away from complications of pneumonia and yes, diabetes most likely played a factor in his death.

In 1923 Banting and McCloud won the Nobel prize for the discovery of insulin, which by then was being produced at a lightening speed rate - and people with diabetes 
no longer lived with a death sentence. 

94 years later, millions rely and use insulin daily - and people with diabetes have gone on to live wonderful lives and do incredible things. 

But people with diabetes still struggle. 
We struggle with the cost of staying alive with diabetes .
We struggle with our insurance companies and the exorbitant prices we pay for our life saving elixir of life and the cost of our life saving diabetes technologies. 
Many struggle because they lack insurance - many struggle because they don't have access to insulin. 
Many people with diabetes struggle with complications, the fear of complications, and the judgement and lack of compassion that having complications brings from others outside and inside the diabetes community. 

Most people with diabetes struggle with the emotional aspects of living with diabetes 24X7, 365 days a year, 

And 94 years after the life saving discovery of insulin, people with diabetes continue to struggle with the fact our disease is misunderstood by so many - and we are still waiting for a cure.

However, no matter the struggles we face or live with, people with diabetes are incredibly grateful to Doctor Banting, Charles Best, George McCloud and James Collip - and to the boy who lived named Leonard Thompson - the first of our diabetes tribe to receive insulin and lived to tell the tale and inspire others. 

Medicare offers weight loss program

A new year has started and many of us have set weight loss as a goal. You may be thinking of looking into one of the many weight-loss programs available to consumers. However, if you�re on Medicare, did you know that it pays for obesity screening in some cases as a preventive service?

For people who qualify for the obesity screening, Medicare pays for up to 22 face-to-face intensive counseling sessions during a 12-month period with a primary care doctor who accepts Medicare. Qualifying clients have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. 

The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver recently featured a medical clinic that provides this service for Medicare recipients.

If you are interested in this service, first you should contact your primary care doctor to see if he or she offers this type of program. You can read more about the coverage on Medicare�s website.

When The Insulin Pump Winter Trifecta Turns Into A Quadruple of Interesting~

Yesterday was a long day and a good one. Up at 5:30 am, out the door and in my car by 7, and arrived at my destination 90 minutes later. I spent the day doing working with 1000 High School students from around the state who were truly inspiring. 
Afterwards, I met up with a friend for dinner and didn't get back home until 7:30.
On the way home, I stopped for gas, and felt my insulin pump unclip from my waist as I turned to reach for my wallet. I was wearing my long winter wool coat - sometimes my pump dislodges when the trifecta of sitting, seat belts, and thick long layers are involved - add when you add the fact that my pump clip lock broke over the holidays and the Insulin Pump Winter Trifecta turns into a quadruple of interesting. 
After unclipping twice, I pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed my insulin pump, gathered my pump tubing, and carefully clipped the pump to my coat lapel, making sure the tubing wasn't tangled in the seat belt. Then I got back on the road and 25 minutes later I was home. 
I turned off my car; grabbed my keys and handbag, then carefully unclipped my seat-belt and gave a quick pat down to made sure that the pump tubing wasn't tangled, and got out of the car.... and was immediately yanked back into place when I went to shut the door.

Clearly, I wasn't untangled.
I laughed out loud, grabbed my phone out of my handbag and snapped this pic! 
And yep, that's a rubber-band MacGyvered around my pump for reinforcement - and YES, I'm ordering a new one!  

2015 Ended With A Break & 2016 Started Out With A Bang!

Back from break refreshed and with a lumpy head - it's all good~
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So my blogging end of year break is over and I�m excited to get back into the swing of things. Personally, I needed to take some time to regroup - I�ve felt burned out creatively for quite some time and the holidays exacerbated those feelings.
Look, the holidays are harder for some people, and I'm one of those people, so taking a break fit perfectly in the scheme of things. 

I took time to finish up on several freelance projects, spent some much needed time with my family and friends who are family, and now I�m happy & ready to embrace everything 2016 throws my way!
As far as resolutions, I�m focusing on what needs to be done, and being the procrastinator that I am, face the things I fear first in my life  - and my life with diabetes.

2016 started off with a bang - literally and figuratively. After a really nasty smack on the head and fall last night, I went to the emergency room. 
The CAT scan revealed swelling of the soft tissue and an egg size lump on the right side of my head. But lumps and all, it�s all gravy - no concussion or internal bleeding. 
I will have a sore, lumpy head for a few days  - but I�m OK with that - that�s what coffee and icepacks are for.

FTR: If you take any medications that cause your blood to get skinny, get checked out, especially if you bang your head to the point you see stars and start to cry
Same goes for any and all pupil weirdness after a head injury. 
And yes, it�s a pain in both the ass and head to go to the emergency room, but get checked out - you're worth it. 


I�m looking forward to forging ahead together and making 2016 a great one - Lets get this party started! 
And FYI: Any and all protective headgear worn is your choice and is not mandatory~ 

New Medicare cards are coming starting in April

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will start mailing redesigned Medicare cards to beneficiaries in Washington state aft...