What's an umbrella policy?

Commissioner Kreidler recently participated in a Facebook live Q&A with KIRO TV reporter Jesse Jones, where viewers submitted their insurance questions. Jesse and Commissioner Kreidler got lots of great questions, including a couple about umbrella policies.

Umbrella policy is one of those insurance terms that a lot of people have heard but many aren�t quite sure what it means. Simply put, an umbrella policy extends your liability coverage beyond what is covered by your homeowner and auto policies. Umbrella policies pay only after you exhaust the liability limit of your homeowner or auto policies, which are referred to as underlying policies.

Here�s an example: Your dog bites a visitor in your home. The visitor sues you for damages and wins a $1 million award against you. Your homeowner�s insurance policy will only pay up to the $300,000 liability coverage limit listed in your home policy. If you have a $1 million umbrella policy, it will pay the remaining $700,000, minus any deductible. According to the Insurance Information Institute, a $1 million umbrella policy costs $150-$300 per year � that�s about $13 to $25 per month in premiums.

If you are interested in buying an umbrella policy, you should contact your insurance agent or company.

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

It's My Diaversary: Today Marks 39 Years of Living With T1 Diabetes

39 years 
39 years with t1 diabetes - I can�t believe it because it doesn�t seem real - or that long ago - but it was a life time ago. 
39 years  - I was so little - diabetes was so big, we became partners not by choice, but by pancreatic and autoimmune circumstances, and together we forged ahead and continue to tackle the world the best we can.

Growing up with diabetes DID NOT ruin my childhood. 
There were challenging and tough times - but diabetes didn�t ruin my childhood - so don't you dare for a second think it did. 
Growing up with diabetes was.... different. 
There were good times and hard times. There were times I struggled with diabetes and times I thrived.
I grew up (at least in some ways,) and isn�t that the goal of parents - to see their children grow up? 
Speaking of growing up, I wish my mom was here today - because this day is about her too - and my dad, but I know exactly what she�d say. 
I would remind her that today was my Diaversary and she�d say something like: I can�t believe it. I can�t believe it�s been 39 years. 
And she�d get this look in her eye that always made me sad - and she�d say that my sister Debbie had such a rough time handling her diabetes - and that�s what did her in.
And how she was so glad that I learned to "handle things." 
And I would say �thanks ma,� and hug her tight. 
And I�d silently think to myself all the times I didn�t/don�t handle my diabetes well - I would think back to the times when my sister was so sick and I was so angry at the world ... and diabetes... and Debbie. 
But I would remind myself that like the lotus, I made it through the diabetes mud and muck, to grow and into someone who is still becoming. 
And then I�d think of my Diabetes Online Community family and all that we�ve been through together. 
And today - even though I�m feeling a bit melancholy, which is really effing weird for me, because usually I�m all about the diaversary celebration, I will find the joy in everything that life brings me - because I am indeed the girl who lived. 

***Speaking of the girl who lived and the woman who continues to become, next year I will celebrate 40 YEARS of living with diabetes - and I want to CELEBRATE  like a rockstar.
I want to do something BIG. 
Like really BIG. Like BIG TOP, BIG - and any and all suggestions from my tribe would be greatly appreciated. 

Lastly, every year I make a list of positives to mark this day and this year is no different. So here it is - 39 positives for 39 years of living with diabetes and in no particular order.
  1. Indian Summer Days
  2. Jeans that make my ass look magnificent
  3. DOC Meet-ups in real life
  4. A glass of red wine with pretty much any food group
  5. pickles as free food
  6. Warm ocean temps and awesome waves
  7. the smell of garlic saut�ing in olive oil
  8. Good friends 
  9. reading a great book
  10. Concerts 
  11. Funny Farm Animal Rescue 
  12. The word �coconut,� because I love how the word rolls of my tongue. It's a happy sounding word and also, I love how coconuts taste. YAY COCONUTS 
  13. Warm sheets in the winter
  14. Cool sheets in the summer 
  15. Nailing carb counts
  16. Black leather boots, preferably italian black leather boots
  17. Watching/listening to my nieces and nephews perform - Also, hanging with my niece and nephews - I LOVE THEM ALL
  18. Running into your very first friend with with diabetes 30 some years after the fact and picking up right where you left off - all because of the Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life
  19. CWD, aka - Children With Diabetes, Friends For Life
  20. Friends children who ask you if you�re �little� or �big,� because they can't tell - and my friends children who have become my friends
  21. DOGS - because dogs are AWESOME
  22. The feeling of accomplishment when the DOC makes changes in the way others view people with diabetes 
  23. City lights
  24. Salt air
  25. The color Green
  26. The color blue
  27. The color Red
  28. The colors purple, yellow, orange and black
  29. Vanilla baked goods
  30.  All baked goods
  31. Ice cream
  32. Music - across the board and in all genres 
  33. That feeling after you get from reading someones blog post that makes you feel better and like you're not the only one
  34. belly laughs
  35. Great sex
  36. Traveling 
  37. Hanging with my big sister Cathy
  38. Martinis with girlfriends
  39. My friends and family.

California Obamacare Rate Increases Much Less Than Other States

Covered California's Peter Lee explains why California's individual & family health plan rate increase for 2017 is much lower than the national average.  This is a good read and shows that California was far ahead of the curve.

Covered California has already posted average premium increases of 13.2 percent, compared with a nationwide average of 25 percent. Part of that jump is due to the end of �reinsurance� payments to cover insurers� losses the first three years, but also because of pricier prescription drug and medical costs, as well as more unhealthy consumers signing up.
A big part of where other states has floundered has been because of political opposition by state governments. They adopted policies like not expanding Medicaid (to enable more individuals to qualify for subsidies). In many states, the politicians who have been so against Obamacare have brought upon their own citizens the rate increases we�re seeing across the country. ... In California, for four years running, we�ve put politics on the back burner. We�ve succeeded in not making consumers the political football that gets kicked in the name of national politics.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/article111482762.html#storylink=cpy

Me + T1 Diabetes+ Weight Gain+ Insulin Resistance + Metformin ER =

A little over two years ago I started gaining weight - and no matter how much I walked, rode my bike, counted carbs and kept an eye on my plate - I kept gaining weight. 
Some of my weight gain was due to me no longer having the metabolism I once had. 
Some of it was due to several rounds of cortisone in the form of shots ( thank you trigger fingers and CT,) and orally( I had a nasty upper and lower respiratory infection in May of 2015,) and the weight that cortisone brings to my person, 
And some of it was due to yours truly developing a resistance to insulin - which I'd had for a while, but which was now dialed up to 11. 

YEP, not only do I not produce insulin, hence the whole, me being a t1 since I was a little girl, but I�ve also become insulin resistant - which I�m told happens after decades of living with type 1 diabetes. YAY ME!

Another signature Kellyism - cortisone tends to sticks to my body for months at a time, requiring me to shoot up a ridiculous amount of insulin for weeks and taking months and months to get back to my regular basal rates.

I�ve figured out the cortisone/insulin dance like Rockstar and I�m not afraid to increase my basals to maintain great blood sugars on cortisone - but I hate that cortisone sticks around in my system for so long. 

But enough was enough and last fall and I started walking between 9 and 15 miles a week - and the damn scale kept going in the wrong direction - and my A1C barely budged. 
And wasn't like I was eating Ben & Jerry's every night - I wasn't. 

Gaining weight and working so damn hard to lose it without success made made me frustrated and depressed. 
On March 15th, 2016, I went to my endo appointment and Dr. J and I had one of our heart to hearts -  I was having hand and wrist surgery in May and I didn�t want to gain any more weight while I was recovering. 
Dr. J mentioned Metformin ER, I mentioned my hair and my fear of losing it. 
Sidebar: The last time I'd given Metformin a try was in 2008 - and I noticed clumps of hair on the carpet. Even though I'm a shedder when it comes to my hair - the clumps on the carpet were beyond normal and I stopped taking Metformin.
And my hair stopped falling out in clumps.

And then I started to cry. 

And Dr. J was great - he told me that we could try some injectables, but that because I was t1, my insurance most likely would not cover them. 
He told me that Metformin ER was different and better than regular metformin - and that price wise, it was cheap. 
Dr. J also felt that it could jump start my metabolism, and it didn�t have to be permanent.  
So we made a deal - I would go on Metformin ER ( Metformin Extended Release - different form the regular metformin I�d tried 8 years earlier,) and if my hair started falling out, I�d stop, ASAP - and Dr. J and I would go to/create plan B. 

I drove home, picked up my RX and started my first round at dinner. 
Sidebar: On March 16th, I received a cortisone shot to pop a ganglion cyst on my palm - I convinced the Dr. to use 1/2 the normal amount of cortisone and twice the amount of saline. The cyst was popped and my blood sugar was only elevated for two weeks.
And on March 20th I tore my quad muscle - and it hurt like hell.  

But back to the Met ER - the first few weeks on Met ER, there were rumbles in my belly for sure - but nothing I couldn�t handle and not nearly as bad as when I'd tried regular Metformin back in 2008. In two weeks the rumblings subsided for the most part.
I also noticed that Metformin ER made me feel fuller, quicker. I�d forgotten about that side effect. 
I travelled for half of April and by May 17th (the day of my hand and wrist surgery,) I�d lost 4.5 lbs. 
By July I was down 9 lbs and I didn�t gain weight while I was in Florida attending Children With Diabetes Friends for Life - and yes, there were some nacho and margarita moments in Florida. 

On July 17th I went back to my Endo - while my A1C had only gone down by a fraction (thank you nasty sinus infection that stayed in my system from late June through mid July,) my labs were great, My weight was down by 9 lbs and my Endo was thrilled. 

Dr. J increased my Metformin ER to 1000 mgs, twice a day and told me he was proud.

The increase caused my stomach to react and the rumblings returned, but were gone quicker the second time around.
In August I bought two new bathing suits - including a red one that made me feel like WonderWoman!  

September rolled in and I was 12 lbs down - and according to my hair dresser (who is also a dear friend, brutally honest, and always has back,) the hair on my head is staying put. 
Sidebar: I take daily biotin and B12 supplements because biotin promotes hair and nail growth and if your b12 is low (which can be one of the side effects of Metormin,) your hair will fall out. 
As of today - I�ve lost 14.5 lbs and my daily insulin intake is down between 9 and 15 units- steadily decreasing in increments since March. 
The most recent insulin decrease happened a few weeks ago, when I started noticing that my daily, 24 hour pump totals were in the mid 30�s. 
5 days in the mid thirties range, followed by a bump up of a couple days in the 40s and then back to the mid thirties. YES, there were a couple middle of the night, kick my ass lows (and one nasty high,) while I readjusted my basal rates. But I did what I had to because that's what people with diabetes do. 

Tomorrow is my Endo appointment - I�m hoping for good labs and a decrease in my a1c . 

And whatever happens, happens - I'm going to keep moving forward. 

Fight health care fraud: guard your Medicare number!

Medicare open enrollment is here (October 15 to December 7), which means fraudsters and identity thieves will increase their efforts to get and abuse Medicare numbers from people.

Fortunately, there are many measures you can take to fight health care fraud:
  • Guard your Medicare number. Protect it the same way you do for your credit card numbers. Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information. Don�t share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless you�ve given them permission in advance. 
  • Don�t ever let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
  • If you�re looking to enroll in a Medicare plan, be suspicious of anyone who pressures you to act now for the best deal. There are no �early bird discounts� or �limited time offers.� Any offer that sounds too good to be true probably is.
  • Be skeptical of offers for free gifts and free medical services. A common ploy of identity thieves is to say they can send you your free gift right away�they just need your Medicare number to confirm. Decline politely but firmly. 
  • Do your part to protect your friends and neighbors: remind them to guard their Medicare numbers, too.
  • Check your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN)�which gives you information on services submitted under your Medicare number�to make sure you and Medicare are only being charged for services you actually received. While the MSN is only mailed to you every 3 months, you can access your Original Medicare claims at any time on MyMedicare.gov. You�ll usually be able to see a claim within 24 hours after Medicare processes it.
You can report suspected fraud by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. 

To learn more about how to protect yourself from health care fraud, visit Medicare.gov/fraud, or contact our state�s local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), which is the OIC's Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program.

Diabetes Tell: Tired, But Can't Sleep.

After two weeks of for the most part - beautiful blood sugars - with some lows spattered in just for diabetes shits and giggles, I knew that diabetes would hit the fan sooner rather than later - I just wish it hadn�t hit the fan in the wee small hours of Monday morning.
So am I the only one who can�t sleep when their blood sugar is starting to rise? 
OK, let me rephrase that: Am I the only one who goes to bed sleepy, but can't actually go to sleep because my blood sugar is unexpectedly/unknowingly rising? 
I�m sans CGM so it�s a good thing and I�m not complaining - OK, I am complaining, but  only because I�m in need of sleep and there�s only so much caffeine and water I can drink without my bladder exploding. 

I think it�s a little strange (and by strange I mean WEIRD - but in a good way,) that unexpected rising blood sugars in the middle of night - for the most part, don't allow me to reach full REM sleep - and FORCE me to check my blood sugar. 
 WEIRD, because normally high blood sugars make me tired and all I want to do is sleep - except when I�m actually trying to sleep. 
GOOD, because I�m so damn thankful that I have this as one of my �diabetes tells.� 
Here�s what went down and hoping you can relate: 
Last night�s dinner began with a beautiful bg of 91 and low in carb deliciohsness to boot. Things sailed smoothly - I checked two hours  after dinner and I was 160 - PERFECTO... until right before bed when my bg was 206. Not a big deal - I corrected and was ready to hit the sack by 11p.m.. 
Cut to 12:50 a.m. and yours truly tossing and turning. I finally grabbed my meter off the nightstand and checked - I was 220 and my less than 12 hour old site hurt. 
I didn�t feel like changing it out, but I did - and I gave another correction. 
Cut to 2:40 am and me still tossing and turning. 
You guessed it, I checked my bg AGAIN - and it was 269. 
I gave my self another correction of 1.8 - which was interrupted half way through by my insulin pump�s occlusion alarm.
YES, I STARTED TO PANIC, but I was too tired to actually FREAK.
And I silently reminded myself that I would have most likely slept through the occlusion if I hadn't been unable to sleep - YAY ME. 
I did the whole prime/rewind thing and the alarm went off, AGAIN. 
Tried a new battery and prime followed by rewinding a second time - same thing. 
My reservoir had been filled Sunday morning - it couldn�t be my insulin - maybe it was the tubing? I changed out the pump�s tubing and and it worked like a charm.
Then I finished the previously interrupted correction bolus - my head was a bit hazy on the math - I literally had to do the calculations with a pencil before I bolused. 
Then I waited until until my bg was going in the right direction before closing my eyes at 3:30. 

My alarm went off at 7 a.m., I hit the snooze button twice - thank GOD my coffee maker has a timer! 

This morning started off with a bang, followed by a 7a.m., bg of 155. 
After the early morning high blood sugar/occlusion escapades, I was more than cool with that number.
Monday was certainly a Monday from the get go - but things got done, blood sugars have stayed in range since 3:30 a.m., and I haven't once asked: IS IT FRIDAY YET? 
But I have asked for more coffee~ 

My "Diabetes Back In The Day," Article Is Live On T1EveryDayMagic.Com !

A few months ago, the folks at T1EverydayMagic reached out to me about writing a �Diabetes Back In The Day,� article for their website. 
I was excited and proud that they asked, I�ve lived with diabetes for almost 4 decades (gulp,) and the way we treat diabetes has changed tremendously -and for the better! 
For instance and sidebar: Back in the day, we didn�t have a Lilly/Disney character called Coco the Monkey who lived with T1 diabetes! 

Going down memory lane re: my life with D, reinforced how far we�ve come in terms of diabetes tools and management. 
Diabetes is hard work - everyone single one of us living the diabetes life knows that. 
Technology is key to managing out diabetes, the D diet has become so much more user friendly over the years, and as you and I know - support makes a huge difference - THANK YOU DOC!

 Today being Thursday, as in #tbt, my article is the #tbt post on T1EveryDayMagic's Facebook page.  
Here�s the direct link to my article on the T1EverydayMagic website.
Please give a read and hope you can relate, feel free to share the post with others if you're so inclined, and thank you in advance from the bottom of my busted pancreas!

Also, be sure to check the 70s kitchen pic of my sister Debbie and I, featured in the article. I love that picture of her so much. 

 And take note of the super deluxe ponytails yours truly is rocking!

Anthem Blue Cross (CA) Adding SilverSneakers� Fitness Program

Anthem Blue Cross (CA) announced this morning that they will be adding the SilverSneakers Fitness Program to California Medicare Supplement Plans A, F, and N.  The added benefit will begin on January 1st, 2017. 

Once approved for release into the market, more states have been added to the list as existing and new members in our marketed plans will enjoy the value-added benefits of the SilverSneakers Fitness program at no additional cost!
Effective January 1, 2017, California members in our marketed plans will enjoy SilverSneakers, too. 
The program offers members their choice of paths to better health. For those who enjoy a traditional workout setting, SilverSneakers offers access to more than 13,000 fitness locations across the country, including use of classes and guidance from a Program AdvisorTM. In addition, for those who can�t get to a fitness center, SilverSneakers Steps� kits focus on at-home or on-the-go general fitness, walking, strength training or yoga. And if that is not enough, they also offer the SilverSneakersFLEXTM program that includes classes and activities at local venues, such as parks, recreation centers and other facilities.
California SilverSneakers� Fitness program FAQs

This is a great value-added benefit for Anthem Blue Cross Supplement subscribers.  Changes to the Anthem Extras program package will be coming on January 1st as well.  

Anthem is refreshing the Anthem Extras (AE) Packages as a result of SilverSneakers being added to the Medicare Supplement marketed plans. In the coming months, two additional AE packages will become available. These packages will mirror the existing benefits under the Premium and Premium Plus Packages but will not include SilverSneakers. For individuals enrolling into a Medicare Supplement plan, they can continue to enroll into the Premium or Premium Plus packages; however, they will continue to include SilverSneakers until the two new packages are available. Please see the FAQs for more information regarding individuals who are currently dually enrolled in a Medicare Supplement marketed plan and an Anthem Extras Premium or Premium Plus Package with SilverSneakers.
Note: SilverSneakers is a value-added benefit that can be changed or withdrawn at any time. SilverSneakers will be available to existing and new members who are enrolled in our currently marketed Medicare Supplement plans.
The SilverSneakers Fitness Program is provided by Healthways, Inc., an independent company. Healthways and SilverSneakers are registered marks of Healthways, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.  �2016 Healthways, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Covered CA Plan Rates and Increases 2017

The 2017 Covered CA health premiums are now quoting. And folks, some plans just don't want to play. Here is the breakdown for myself in Santa Clara County between 2016 and 2017 on Silver plans on-exchange in order of monthly premium price:

Valley Health HMO was flat for 2017 rate increase below 1% ($701)
Anthem Blue Cross PPO for 2017 rate increase 11% ($781)
Kaiser HMO for 2017 rate increase 7.5% (785)
Health Net HMO for 2017 rate increase 23% ($916)
Blue Shield PPO for 2017 rate increase 23% ($993)
Give me a call for rates and options for your coverage in 2017. There will be cases where buying off-exchange may be less expensive depending on subsidy levels.
A licensed agent can shop both markets.  www.davefluker.com

Outdoor, indoor features that you think are covered may surprise you

Many consumers think their homeowner policy covers everything they own, both inside and on their premises outside of their home. However, you should be aware that most homeowner policies do not cover everything you own. 

Creative Commons Backyard Pool by
Alvin Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0 
Here are some common features that people may think is covered by a standard homeowner policy. 

Outside your home:
  • Retaining walls
  • Pools that sit above and below ground
  • Gazebos
  • Spas/hot tubs 
  • Rockeries and other landscaped areas
  • Driveways
  • Sidewalks
  • Foundations
  • Fences
  • Pump houses
  • Garden sheds
  • Greenhouses 
  • Playground equipment
Inside your home:
  • Collectibles
  • Money
  • Jewelry
  • Artwork 
  • Musical instruments
Talk to your agent or broker to find out if items like these are covered.  If coverage isn�t available, you�ll want to maintain and safeguard the property at your own cost, and do the best you can to keep it from damage. It�s a good idea to have a discussion about these types of property before you buy a policy.

Read more about homeowner's insurance on our website. Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

When Diabetes Burnout Enters My World

I originally wrote this post for findapsychologist.org back in 2014 and it's one of my favorites. Diabetes Burnout happens to the best of us because we live with it 365, 24X7 and it's hard offing work.
I haven�t had a day off from type 1 diabetes in over 14,000 days. Not once in all that time have I received time off from diabetes for good behavior, vacations, family weddings, funerals, etc.  
I�ve accepted that I will never have a day off from my diabetes unless they find a cure, and I do my best to live a great life � and have a great life with diabetes.
But like every single person living with diabetes and regardless of the type, there are moments (sometimes extending into weeks,) where I deal with Diabetes Burnout.
Living with diabetes itself is a never-ending full time job:
The continual blood sugar testing, battling insurance companies to cover the insulin that you require to live. Counting of carbs of absolutely everything you put in your mouth and the anxiety of doctors� appointments & the lab results that accompany them. Insulin pump tubing getting tangled in doorknobs and ripping out my infusion site, just when I�m ready to go out the door.
The diabetes guilt that creeps up and then into my heart, just when I think I�m passed it. There�s the worry that�s always in the back of my head, and every PWD (person with diabetes,) head regarding both the present and the future.
My diabetes burnout comes in waves and not always necessarily when you�d expect. Sometimes it strikes when I�m packing for a trip and my diabetes supplies take up more room then I think it has a right to. And in those moments I wish I could chuck my Diabetes and my diabetes supplies out the window - BUT I CAN'T. So I acknowledge the frustration and forge ahead with a vengeance.
Other times my diabetes burnout appears right on queue and has lingering effects. Like when it�s 2 a.m. and I have to be up in four hours and & my blood sugar refuses to go down, even after 4 correction boluses and 2 site changes.
The same can absolutely be said about my blood sugar refusing to stay up � even after lowering the temporary basal rate on my insulin pump twice and downing 4 juice boxes in three hours and a fist full of glucose tabs.
In those moments of diabetes exhaustion, anger and fear, tears sting my eyes and I physically and mentally feel like Atlas � And it�s hard to shake off the diabetes muck of it all.
And there are days when I cry for those I�ve loved and lost to diabetes. People like my sister, my father, my two aunts, one of my best friends from Diabetes camp who passed away last year, and DOC family members who lost their battle with D. I think about them every day � And most times the memory of them makes me smile and gives me strength. And there are days when I cry for them and feel their loss so very profoundly.
Sometimes diabetes burnout occurs just because it can. On those days, I do what I have to when it comes to living with my diabetes, but I take extra care not to define myself by the number that flashes on my meter, and use it as my Diabetes GPS system - telling me where my body is and what direction it needs to go . 
And I�m incredibly lucky that I have an amazing diabetes support system when it comes to dealing with diabetes burnout.
I have my Diabetes Pit Crew. 
My amazing Endocrinologist and Certified Diabetes Educator who understand diabetes burnout and who treat it as a very real symptom of diabetes. 
A counselor who I can reach out and schedule some one-on-one time with, when I find that diabetes burnout is creeping into the picture of my life. I have family members and friends who are there for me whenever I need them.
And I have a strong and supportive community of people living with diabetes.
The Diabetes Online Community lifts me up during bouts of diabetes burnout because they not only understand diabetes burnout; they�ve experienced it, they "get it."  The DOC show's me that I am not alone in my life with diabetes and are always there for me when I feel as if I am. And thanks to my multi-faceted/tiered support system, I get glad again - and I am a lucky duck, indeed.

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...