I Heard Back From UnitedHealthcare - Not Impressed.

Yesterday I wrote a Facebook status which with some alterations and additions, morphed into today�s blog post - because #diabetesaccessmatters
######

I reached out to UnitedHealthCare several times regarding their decision to limit their customers pump choice to Medtronic. 
I don�t have UHC as my insurance provider and I happen to wear an out of warranty minimed/ medtronic pump, which I love, but the thought of not having options when it comes to my diabetes and my health keeps me up at night. 

I received a response from UHC yesterday, it was impersonal to the point of being cookie cutter - and its wording made it seem as if my concerns were incidental and unimportant. 

My concerns are neither - they are specific and relevant to anyone with diabetes or living with a chronic illness. 

Lastly, the letter was signed �Consumer Affairs.� 
Talk about innocuous and none specific. 

A signature with a name ,department, and extension number would have been the proper and professional way to close the letter. 

Also �Consumer Affairs," if you�re going to forward my concerns to �the appropriate department,� please be specific and state who that department actually is. 


Like all of you in the Diabetes Online Community and beyond, I'm all about choice when it comes to my life and my life with diabetes � and the options I use to manage my diabetes.
I wear my pump 24x7, and as I stated above, it happens to be an out of warranty Medtronic minimed pump.
My insulin pump is on my body 23 hours a day - 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. 
My insulin pump has been with me at every major life event - including my mother�s funeral. 
It�s traveled with me around the globe and it�s been on my person (or on my nightstand,) at the most intimate of moments. 


I believe every single person and no matter the disease or condition, deserves and requires choice when it comes to their treatment options.
I understand that insurance companies may not be able to give their customers an array of choices regarding insulin pumps - but for God sakes give us choice. 
Don't dictate a piece of equipment that we must wear for four years and without option.

Don't send me a letter some poorly worded letter sent by the "man behind the curtain," named �Consumer Affairs.� 

And to both UHC and Medtronic, by removing brand choice from United HealthCare�s patients, you are also limiting CGM choices - so please don�t state in press releases that you�re doing to benefit the patient re: better pricing and diabetes technology.


Limiting a patients choice in diabetes technology, like insulin pumps; cgms, test strips, meters, and other diabetes medications, does not benefit patients - it benefits companies. 

Taking away our choices in diabetes management tools will become the norm instead of the exception, 
if we don�t continue to speak up. 

I have been so very happy with my mini med/Medtronic pumps these past 15 years of pumping, but the limitations imposed by UHC & Medtronic to others who live the diabetes lives, has pushed into a corner as a patient and as a consumer.

For the second  time in 15 years of wearing a pump, I feel compelled to actively consider
other insulin pump options besides Medtronic - while I still have choices to choose from. 

The whole bloody situation makes me 
angry - because #diabetesaccessmatters
And now in picking up the phone and calling my Reps in office. 

Of Higher Blood Sugars, Increased Temporary Basal Rates, And Having Patience.

After a week straight of varying degrees of increased temporary basal rates, (between 138% and 150%,) followed by the past four days of high morning blood sugars followed by damn near perfect blood sugars in the afternoon and evening that boarded on the low side  and sans temp basals - diabetes had me feeling tired. 
I knew the crazy glucoaster ride was temporary - remnants of a double ear infection that�s taking it�s own sweet time leaving my unusually narrow ear canals. 

Things would be back to normal soon and I knew that, but I was all sorts of exhausted after dinner.  
And what I wanted to do was chill out on the couch and digest my dinner. 

Instead, I made myself go out and take a walk on the beach. 
I didn�t walk for the exercise - I walked for my head - and because the air temperature had dropped, the ocean was warm and it felt good to be outside. 
30 minutes into my walk, I ended up running into friends and I staying out until it was dark  - and when I finally walked in the door, my blood sugar was 150. 
I set a temp basal rate of 123% ( the lowest increased temp basal rate in a week,) and 
went to bed at 10:45 with a 128 blood sugar and no correction. 
When I woke up today and for the first morning in days, my blood sugar in the low 100s. 109 to be exact. 
And so far, things have been holding stready for the rest of the day. 


Patience is a virtue and I am stronger (and bitchier,) than diabetes~  

After Six Days At The Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference - It's Too Quiet.

After a 6 days at the Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life conference (aka, #cwdffl16,) in Orlando - it's too quiet. 
########
My Children with Diabetes, Friends For Life, green bracelet - otherwise
known as my talisman of hope~
It's too quiet.
No green and orange bracelets at every turn.
No Laura sailing through the hallways giving hugs or Jeff capturing memories with his camera.
No talking to strangers with green or orange bracelets, Who become friends you hug hello.
When my pump and alarm went off yesterday, nobody said,"is that me or you?"
No one to have dinner with and talk about the day; the night, the daily sessions, pool shenanigans, the parks and everything in-between.

No one walking up to you (or vice versa,) and starting a conversation just because you're wearing a green or orange bracelet.

No one to say: Are you OK? 

When I walked through Orlando airport on Monday, it was too quiet - even though it was jam packed.
No green or orange bracelets to be found - no matter how hard I looked.
Not even a lone test strip on the ground - and that bummed me out.


And I drank my coffee in silence in terminal 30 something - and not one person said hello.
It felt like the loneliest place on earth.... because it was.
And as far as I'm concerned, Orlando International Airport on the day I leave Children with Diabetes, Friends For Life conference, will always be the loneliest place in the world.

I'm home now, but I'm not.


This morning I looked down at my meter and didn't like the number, and nobody was there to say "it's OK."


No sessions that made you feel like you weren't the only one.
No friends running down the halls of the Marriott to hug you because it's been 365 days since the last time you saw them - or two hours.
No chocolate covered strawberries. 

No friends I've known forever, but are meeting for the first time in real life at the hotel lobby bar.
No friends I've just met during the conference - but feel like I've known forever.
No little girls running up and shouting: Mommy, her got a green bracelet like mine!
No carb counts already calculated at every meal.
No yearly Mojitos with friends who are family.

No "me too's." 

No people who "get it."
(SIGH)


It's too quiet.

And I can't wait for #cwdffl7

Consider your options when you lose your employer-sponsored insurance

Finding out you are being laid off is stressful, and in addition to that, you have to make important decisions about health insurance that can save you�or cost you�thousands of dollars at a critical time. It�s important to consider all your options when deciding between COBRA or buying your own plan.

What is COBRA? COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which is a federal law that allows you and any of your immediate family members to stay on your employer�s health plan under certain circumstances :
  • You lose or quit your job 
  • You get a divorce 
  • The employee dies 
  • You are no longer covered as a dependent due to your age
Only employers with 20 or more workers in the previous year are required to offer COBRA coverage. State and local governments fall under COBRA, but the federal government and certain religious organizations do not.

COBRA can be expensive. People who choose COBRA coverage must pay the entire premium, including the portion previously paid by the employer, plus a 2 percent administrative fee. Be warned, if you enroll in COBRA and later on want to switch to a health plan directly to an insurance company or through the Washington Healthplanfinder, you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period if you don�t qualify for a special enrollment.

Options other than COBRA
Before you decide to go with COBRA, find out if you can buy a health plan through the Washington Healthplanfinder and receive a subsidy to help pay your insurance premiums. You can also purchase coverage directly from an insurance company, broker or agent if you don�t qualify for any subsidies.

If you choose a health insurance plan, you likely will be responsible for a full yearly deductible. Generally, health insurance deductibles are not prorated for partial-year enrollees, no matter how few months are left in the plan year. Individual or family qualified health plans operate on a calendar year, from January through December. There is no way to transfer the money you spent toward another plan�s deductible when you switch plans mid-year.

Read more about losing your health insurance on our website. Questions? Contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

For COBRA- specific laws and questions, contact:

U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration
Seattle District Office
300 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1110
Seattle, WA 98104
206-757-6781

Learn more about Medicare at free event July 9 in Seattle

Are you new to Medicare? The Office of the Insurance Commissioner�s Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) will be at the Seattle Central Library from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 9.

You will learn about:
Medicare parts A, B, C and D
Your Medicare benefits and options
How to get help paying for Medicare if you qualify

Find registration and parking information for this event.

Other resources:
Find out more events on the SHIBA calendar.
Read more about SHIBA and how it can help you.
Do you have Medicare questions? Call 1-800-562-6900.

I'm Off To The 2016 Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference

I'm currently sitting on a plane, waiting for my flight to Orlando to take off, and writing this pat from Blogger's app, so please forgive any hyperlink tomfoolery. 
I'm headed off to the Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life Conference (http://childrenwithdiabetes.com/activities/Orlando2016/) and I can't wait! 
I'm excited to spend the next 6 days with people who get it, and I can't wait to be surrounded by my green and orange braclet wearing family.
I can't wait to hug old friends and meet new ones. 
I can't wait to get my "batteries recharged," and I need my batteries recharged - CWD, FFL does that for me. 

Tomorrow I attend the Diabetes Hands Foundation's, Diabetes Advocacy Master Lab & I can't wait to take it all in.

For the second year in a row, IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes.org has a booth, and I'm so grateful for that.

And as I sit here on the plane, I am once again reminded that I have so much to be thankful for.
I will apply my sunscreen liberally and with gusto and do my best to post from the conference ??

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...