Holiday Travel: The Time I forgot My Medical ID 300 Miles Into A 700 Mile Road Trip.

I started writing this article about 10 days ago, then I had surgery.
Most of my stitches were removed to day - more on that later.
Anyway, here�s what happened to me on my Thanksgiving road trip and some disclosure. 
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On the drive home and wearing my Lauren's Hope bracelet the Saturday after Thankgiving, somewhere
in North Carolina - I-40 
I love to travel. 
I�ve been to a boatload of countries and an �OK� number of states. 
I fly a lot and as much as I hate airports, I can navigate them - for the most part. 

Trains? I�m cool with trains - I love taking trains. 

I�ve gone on lots of road trips in my life. Some good; some great, some neither, all memorable. 
But I�ve never actually done a solo -beyond my local tri-state area, road trip. 
Maybe it has something to do with my irrational fear of reading maps, maybe in a past life I became lost on a journey and never made it to my destination, maybe it�s because I�ve gotten lost and ended up in some gnarly parts of cities and states where I thought no one would ever find me. 
Or maybe it�s because I�m a big effing baby, but whatever.

Drop me in the middle of an unknown city on foot, and I can figure it out no problem. 
Tell me I have to drive to and around a city I�ve never been to and I start to get anxiety. 
Needless to say, GPS navigational systems have been a game changer for me - I don't worry about getting lost anymore.
In September I was invited to my cousins in South Carolina for Thanksgiving and I decided I was going to drive instead of fly. 

I was going to bypass the mess that is Philadelphia International Airport at Thanksgiving, and get out of my comfort zone re: driving long distances by myself.

Yep, I was going to drive the between 600 and 700 miles each way solo because I'm a big, brave, grownup lady.

I mapped out my route (thank you talking Google Maps,) for the more than 600, but less than 700 mile journey each way, booked my hotel, (could not deal with doing it all in one day,) had my car checked over, and marked the departure date on my calendar. 

The night before the trip I finished packing everything. Clothes; extra diabetes supplies, gifts for my cousins children and a special bread from a local bakery that shall remain nameless. 
Then I put my laptop/charger in my work bag, placed my Lauren�s Hope medical ID bracelet next to my charging phone and went to bed.
The next morning I loaded my car up with my luggage, computer bag, bread, and a cooler packed with apples, water, kind bars, and baby carrots. 
And after several false starts, I pulled out of my driveway at 10 a.m.
Cut to 4:30 pm and me checking into my Richmond, VA hotel and settling in my room. 
That would be when I noticed I wasn�t wearing my ID bracelet. 
No big deal, I figured it was in my makeup bag... except when I checked it wasn�t. 
And I got nervous. 

Did I lose it or was it still at home? 
What if something happened while I was driving to The Carolinas ?

I remembered a time when I hated wearing medical IDs and would only wear one when I traveled. But things change and we live and learn. 

I tried not to think about it and went down to the lobby to meet a friend for dinner.
The next morning I was on the road by 11 a.m. and all was going well - Thank you talking google maps! 

FYI: When you're drive long ass distances by yourself you have a lot of time to think. 
You think about the beautiful scenery, and you think about your life and the roads not traveled, blah, blah, blah. 

And you keep thinking about traveling the day before the busiest travel day of the year and the "what if�s" of not having your medical ID bracelet on your wrist. 
Basically you become hyper focused on all the horrible things that can happen on the road, at a rest stop, anywhere and not being able to let anyone know about your diabetes, etc. 

FTR: I have D and non D medical info noted on my Lauren's Hope Medical ID bracelets. 

When I reached I-40 I had a 140 miles to think about all of the above before I needed to consult with Google maps - and the more I thought about not having my bracelet, the more uncomfortable I got.

BOTTOM LINE: I FREAKED. 

My somewhat irrational fear of driving almost 700 miles by myself was replaced by the very real fear of not having my medical ID on my person.

I was mad at myself for forgetting my bracelet.

And I was scared.

60 miles into the uninterrupted 140, I stopped for gas. 
Then I went through my email contact list and called my contact at Lauren�s Hope and left her a message. It was my �hope� that she could overnight a bracelet to my cousins house - if that was even a possibility on their end. 

120 miles into the 140, my contact called me back and I pulled over to the side of the road and told her my dilemma. 

She listened, calmed me down, and told me that they overnight jewelry all the time. 
I gave her my cousins address and she told me that she�d send me a gold colored steel cuff. 

I felt better and I felt safe. 

After getting stuck in crazy traffic the last 40 miles of my journey, I made it to my cousins house, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at dinner time. 

The next day, at 1pm, EST my Lauren�s Hope bracelet arrived via FedEx - which impressed me on many levels because hello, it was the day before Thanksgiving and who the hell wants to drive in that mess.
Also, I wish I could have given the FedEx person a hug, but they didn�t ring the doorbell - which I understand, because THANKSGIVING WEDNESDAY.

Anyway, I wore my bracelet on my wrist for the rest of the trip.

My Thanksgiving was wonderful and happy and my family made me laugh like crazy . 

The trip back home stretched out over two days and except for the crazy traffic on 95 once I hit Baltimore - everything went off without a hitch. 
I�m confident that I can drive anywhere now - as long I have a talking GPS at my fingertips. 

And I�ve decided to leave one of my LH medical ID bracelets ( I own 4,) in my locked glove compartment because I never want to worry like that again. 
I don�t want worrying about the what-ifs (diabetes or otherwise,) to hold me back from traveling and exploring life.   

Disclosure1: Lauren's Hope didn't charge me for my bracelet. 
I told them I was going to write about what happened because I was so damn grateful and felt/still feel that if it could happen to me, it could happen to you and knowing that there's a solution is key.
 I didn't expect anything in return, but it was nice gesture and greatly appreciated.  

Disclosure 2: I own four LH bracelets (3 before Thanksgiving,) and after my road trip, I decided to become a LH affiliate.
That means I will get a very small percentage if you place an order with LH, via clicking on their here.
Any money earned will go towards domain renewals for both diabetesaliciousness and IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes.Org .

You can learn about LH affiliates program, HERE. 
You can read disclosure policies of this blog, HERE

I never want you to think I'm not being honest, so I'm telling you upfront. 

Lastly, it doesn't matter to me where you or your loved ones get your medical IDs. 

What matters most to me is that you and your loved ones actually WEAR your medical IDs - and if you forget to bring yours on a trip or lose it while traveling, you're able to have a replacement sent to you within 24 hours. 


Does your homeowner�s insurance cover theft from your storage unit? The answer might surprise you.

There�s a reality show on A&E about people who bid � sight unseen � 
on the contents of abandoned storage units. Yep, that's a thing.  

Self-storage is a booming business these days, according to Bloomberg. New warehouses are being built at a record pace to store Americans� extra belongings. Nearly 10 percent of Americans rented a storage unit in 2015, according to Sparefoot.com, a storage unit comparison site. There are even luxury storage units to store your vintage car collection or to give you another space to hang out in.

Before you rent a storage unit, luxury or otherwise, you should be thinking about what happens if your belongings are damaged or stolen.

Generally, if your homeowner or renter policy covers contents that you store offsite--say, at a storage unit--they limit the coverage to a certain dollar amount, and they do not cover theft from the storage unit. That�s really important information to know before you fill a storage unit full of your belongings.

It may not be a good idea to store items of high value, like art, antiques, jewelry, collectibles, furniture or rugs, in a storage unit. Unless you have had the items appraised and insured for those amounts, it�s likely the dollar limits on your coverage will not be enough to pay to replace your possessions if they are damaged.

If you need to store valuables of that nature somewhere other than your home, talk to your agent or insurance company.

Most storage unit businesses offer their own insurance policies, but are they a good deal? That depends on if you already have coverage through a renter�s or homeowner policy. If not, read the policy offered by the storage company. What does it cover? What does it not cover? What is the dollar limit for the coverage? Is there a time limit for the coverage? What is the deductible on the policy?

Storage businesses that sell these policies are required to be licensed insurance producers. That means if you have trouble, you can file a complaint with us.

Here are some tips if you rent a storage unit:
  • Read your policy or talk to your agent or insurer about covering any contents you are storing anywhere other than your residence
  • If your renter�s or homeowner policy does cover offsite storage, there may be limits on:
    • The dollar amount of coverage.
    • How long things in storage will be covered � think temporary, not long-term or indefinite storage.
    • The types of losses that will be covered � theft likely is not covered.
  • Create an inventory of what you are keeping in storage. It can be as basic as taking photos with your phone, or you can download an app from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, your insurer, or some other app. Or, you can make a list that you store somewhere safe. 
Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

Deadline for Jan. 1 coverage through Exchange extended to Dec. 23

Washington consumers can sign up for health and medical plans through Washington Healthplanfinder until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 23 for coverage that starts Jan. 1.
  • Online: 24/7 at wahealthplanfinder.org.
  • By phone: 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633). Normal hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every weekday. Extended hours:
    • Dec. 15 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Dec. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Dec. 23 from 8 a.m. to midnight.
  • Find help in person with a navigator or a broker.
If you don�t qualify for a subsidy, you can purchase a plan on the individual market directly from an agent or broker. The deadline for Jan. 1 coverage varies by plan.
If you miss the Dec. 23 deadline, you can still get coverage. Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31 for coverage that will likely start March 1. 

Direct practices lose 3 percent of patients statewide

Each year, the OIC reports to the Legislature on the status of direct health care practices in Washington state. In a direct health care practice, a health care provider charges a patient a set monthly fee for all primary care services provided in the office, regardless of the number of visits. No insurance plan is involved, although patients may have separate insurance coverage for more costly medical services. Direct practices are sometimes marketed as �retainer� or �concierge� practices.

The December 2016 report contains data from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016, two fiscal years� worth of information.

Some highlights from this year�s report, as of June 30:
  • There were approximately 11,272 direct-practice patients in Washington, a 3 percent drop from fiscal year 2015. That figure represents .016 percent of the state�s population. 
  • There were 30 practices in the state. Two new practices opened in Battle Ground and Edmonds. Five clinics in Seattle, Richland, Spokane and Colville reported they no longer participate in direct practices. 
  • Monthly fees at direct practices ranged from $25 to more than $1,082. The average monthly fee weighted by the number of patients was $154.65, a 15 percent increase from fiscal year 2015.
  • The OIC received no consumer complaints regarding direct patient practices. 
The Affordable Care Act requires consumers to purchase a health insurance plan or pay a tax penalty. Direct practices do not meet the requirements of the ACA and therefore do not qualify as a health insurance plan. That may explain why the number of consumers who purchase direct practice plans has dropped since 2014. However, the incoming federal administration has vowed to alter the ACA, which may drive more consumers to direct practices for primary care. At this point, it�s too soon to tell.

View the full report.

I Need A Hand

So...hand & wrist surgery on my other hand in a few minutes.
Any and all positive vibes would be greatly appreciated. 
Thanks guys! 

OIC has saved auto insurance consumers $32 million since 2010

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner's rate decisions have saved auto insurance consumers more than $32 million in premiums since 2010.

Personal auto insurers are required to file their proposed rates and rating plans with our office whenever there's a rate change. Our actuaries review the proposed rates, rating plans, and supporting documentation to be sure that the rates are not excessive, inadequate or unfair. 

From 2010 through 2015, the rates we approved for the top 20 personal auto insurers in Washington saved consumers more than $32 million in premiums. 
  • 2015: $6.2 million
  • 2014: $6.2 million 
  • 2013: $8.9 million 
  • 2012: $5.6 million 
  • 2011: $2.7 million 
  • 2010: $2.7 million 
Read more about auto insurance in Washington state.

December Diabetes Reminders

As if people living with diabetes don't have enough to do without scrambling for end of year RX refills, dr's appointments, etc. But we don't have a choice -we must. 
January 1,2017 isn't only New Year's Day - it's the day our yearly insurance deductibles start all over again. If you've met your 2016 deductible or not - get those refills, tests, and end of year appointments done, ASAP!
And yes, it's a pain in the ass - but it's important!
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The following is your December reminder(s) to refill your end-of-year prescriptions; look into getting new eye glasses, get fitted for orthotics, ( Medicare covers both orthotic inserts and one pair of "diabetic shoes, every year,) and most insurances cover orthotics (fully or partially,) if you have diabetes. 
Make sure your up to date on your pump, CGM, and tests strip supplies. 
Schedule and all last minute appointments and Lab RX/test requests for December, before your 2017 deductible kicks in. 

If you've met your deductible for 2016, December is time to order your new pump, if you're due. And once deductibles have been met and according to your plan, your RX medications may be reduced in price or on some plans, free.
If that's the case with your plan/plans, today would be a great day to call your doctors up and get your one-month prescriptions for December changed into three month RXs, fill them ASAP, and save some money in the process. 
Heads-up: It might not go exactly as you planned on all fronts - but it will still save you some money.
December is also a great time to stock up on insulin pump double/triple AAA batteries- most stores have batteries on sale this time of year - thank you Christmas/Hanukkah toys!

And not like we have enough to do, but December is also the time of year for many to research, pick, and choose 2017 healthcare plans. 

Ut's going to be a long and expensive winter, folks -and a little prep goes a long way~

2 Months of Insulin = 4 Bottles & $955.13


Hard for me to share this pic, but in order to for me to encourage others to share their experiences so real change can occur re: affordable insulin for all, I have to do the same. 
Backstory: I'm good - I'm sharing because things have to change when it comes to insulin prices � for people with and without insurance.

Back near the end of October, I realized I'd finally met my yearly deductible and my insulin would now be free. 
My Dr. sent over my RX, and 2 bottles that would have cost $517.75 out of pocket, cost me $0.00. 
BUT 10 days later I realized that the RX was for the wrong amount. 30 units a day, instead of 60. BIG DIFFERENCE. 
My Dr's office called in the proper RX and it was filled on the November 18th. 
4 bottles (plus the two from October,)  until the end of the year.
 I thought I'd have one more "free" refill in December that would be covered 100%.  
 Unfortunately, my insurance says that my next refill is on January 2nd, 2017 - and it�s out of pocket.
 I'm thoroughly confused and I've spoken to my Pharmacist twice about it. But according to my insurance company's D math - that's the date. WTF. 
I'm lucky - I have samples of unopened insulin sitting in my butter compartment, and courtesy of my Dr.

Those samples save me lots of out-of-pocket - having them makes a huge difference in the cash I can actually keep in my pocket � I am blessed that my doctor provides me with them and I know it.
FTR, I will be calling my pharmacy at the end of December to see if they can push another insulin RX through before the end of the year. - fingers crossed, but at least I have lots of back up.
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4 bottles of insulin - a two month supply in total, of a drug that literally keeps me alive and that would have cost me $955.13 in total, or $238 per bottle, WITH INSURANCE - had I not met my 2016 deductible thanks to wrist and hand surgery. 
I paid $0.00 because as I've mentioned several times, I've met my yearly deductible.

$238.78 a bottle for fast acting insulin (FTR, the name of the insulin is blacked out because my insurance charges me the same amount of money for Apidra, Lily, and Novalog,) insulins that are no longer on patent, but whose prices have gone up exponentially since 2002. 
$5,730.78 a year out of pocket for insulin, (probably a bit more because my RX pricing goes down the closer I get to my deductible,) for my/our elixir of life. 
I haven't even included test strips, or my pump supplies.

And I�m one of the lucky ones.
1. I have insurance
2. My Endo provides me with generous amounts of life saving samples of the drug (insulin,) that keep me alive, because he�s appalled at what my insurance charges me for insulin. 

I am so grateful to and for him. 

And I am so angry.
Angry that in the United States, insulin prices to go up for a multitude of reasons . 

Here's what I told the Lilly reps when I met with them privately in October to discuss in cost of insulin.
SIDEBAR: Kudos to Lilly for reaching out and meeting with Advocates one on one.
They were the only insulin company to physically meet with me on the east coast and hear my wants and needs - And I appreciate that very much .
They also met with others in the DOC around the country, re: insulin pricing. 

I told the folks from Lilly that I don�t want to demonize pharma or the companies that make insulin and other lifesaving drugs, because I don't.
 I'm not against profit and I know what companies who make insulin have done for nonprofits and people with diabetes.
But things must change because people can�t afford the very drug(s) that keep them/their loved ones alive - with insurance or without. 
And I DON'T CARE WHOSE FAULT IT WAS/IS - I WANT IT FIXED - And I will remember who led the charge to make things right. WE ALL WILL - every single one of us living with diabetes.
I stated that I don�t want hear about the Affordable Care Act, because insulin prices have been going up since 2002 - long before the ACA came to be - stop blaming blaming OBAMA. 
I mentioned that insulins that have long been off-patent, cost most of us more now, then when they were new. 
Insurance companies blame pharma, pharma blames Pharmacy Benefit Managers, PBMs blame everyone else. Toss in restrictive state laws and it becomes a vicious circle of blame. 
There�s enough blame for everyone to go around - and at this point, all parties involved need to stop pointing fingers and make things right.

Insulin Patient Assistance Programs help, but they don�t help enough. 
Those programs  don�t always provide the patient with enough insulin and many don�t qualify for the programs, let alone know these programs exist - see the link to the Diabetesmine link in the article below for all the reasons why. 
Also, these programs take time and paperwork. 
People with diabetes have enough damn paperwork. 
We spend countless hours on the phone with our insurance companies, our pharmacies and our Doctors. 
Nine times out of 10, we are the ones who catch costly mistakes made in our insurance billing - and it takes months to right those costly wrongs. 
And when you need insulin, you need it ASAP and everyday - waiting isn�t an option.
Try explaining to your insurance company about's tile floors that shatter glass insulin bottles, or why you suddenly need more than your normal amount of insulin due to harmones, the flu,a stressful patch at work or within your family, etc. 
They don't get it and they won't pay for it. They make you pay.
Click HERE for a breakdown of various insulin assistant program links/pros and cons. 

A meeting took place in few weeks ago with Pharma and Advocates in D.C came together re: Insulin pricing. 
Unfortunately, I didn't receive an invite to the meeting, but Diabetesmine wrote and excellent post on the meeting, and  I encourage you to read it
It�s comprehensive and does a beautiful and detailed job of explaining the big picture. 

For those of us who didn�t attend the Insulin Roundtable meeting in D.C. and for those who did, there are many ways your voice can be heard. 
For starters, pick up the phone and call your state lawmakers and share your story. 
Use the #DiabetesAccessMatters hashtag on Social Media. 
Call your insulin companies up and in nice, authoritative, calm, and kind voice - tell them your needs and your issues with insulin pricing. 
Get up dates from diabetesPAC  and see what diabetes issues are front in center in DC.
Sign the American Diabetes Association Petition to Stand Up For Affordable Insulin.

It�s easy, free and it can only help.
We all must come together and share our struggles about living with diabetes and the cost of diabetes, in order for change to happen.

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...