New rule protects consumers from unintentional long-term care policy lapses

This week, we adopted a rule that affects consumers who have long-term care insurance policies and their families.

If you are not familiar with long-term care insurance, it pays for the polcyholder to stay in a long-term care facility when their health meets certain criteria. Many consumers purchase polices years or decades before they need it. Because the policies are in place for so long, sometimes people forget to pay if their mental or physical health declines, such as cases of dementia.

We started the rulemaking because of stories like this--a consumer filed a complaint with us about her mother�s long-term care policy, which had lapsed because the mother had stopped paying the premiums without her daughter�s knowledge. The daughter found out the policy had lapsed when her mother needed long-term care and the claim was denied. The company said it had notified the mother and the daughter that the policy was canceled, but neither of them received the notice.

The new rule strengthens consumer protections in cases of lapsed policies:
  • Insurers still are required to notify consumers at least 30 days prior to canceling a policy for nonpayment; however, now they have to prove they notified the policyholder and that person�s designee. 
  • The insurer has to notify the person who sold the policy to the consumer, such as an insurance agent or broker. That gives the agent or broker an opportunity to check with their client to make sure they are intentionally letting the policy lapse. 
  • Insurers are required to ask the policyholder once a year if they would like to change their designee. Previously, they were required to ask every two years. 
Read more about the rule and about long-term care insurance. Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

Lasso'd By My Insulin Pump Tubing - AGAIN

And lucky for me, DOCers on the twitter related and laughed with me. 
Basically, yours truly walked into her kitchen, turned the corner and was literally lasso�d by one of her stove's gas burner knobs. 
The knobs (dials?) rest on the front of the stove and directly above the oven door, not on tap, which keeps things interesting
The more I tried to untangle myself, the more tangled up I became. 
And of course I reached for my phone to document, but it was in the other room... on the couch. 
I tried the stove's knob/dial, but that sucker was on there tight and having hand surgery didn�t help the situation.
I finally disconnected from my pump infusion site and was able to pry the knob off with my hands, then I slowly untangled form the 1/2 an inch metal part thingy that the dial/knob fit on. 

Crisis averted and I laughed out loud because:
A. It was funny
B. Nothing terrible happened, being mad would have been wasted energy.

Thanks to my pump tubing, I�ve also been lasso�d by doorknobs, ledges, edges, my car�s emergency break, seat belts, the occasional belt loop (mine and others,) body parts, (mine and others,) and everything in-between. 
It�s part of the living with the �job� that is diabetes, and wearing an insulin pump with tubing. 
And yes, I know that I can tape the tubing to my abdomen, but my belly real-estate is limited.  

BUT I may try taping the tubing, thus making it look like an actual lasso.... Also,  

Squad Goals
I think we can all agree that if we didn't laugh at the D craziness, we'd go nuts. 
And personally, I need more laughs as of late

So if you�ve been lasso�d with your pump�s tubing or some other D accessory, feel free to share ... or not. 

Either way, I hope this post made you smile! 

Free Write: Diabetes In The Storm

I took a break from the work I was doing because of all the thoughts swirling in my head. So I set the timer on my phone for 8 minutes and did a free write. 
Here's what I came up with. 
Four days of great blood sugars and lower insulin totals, immediately followed by a few days of higher numbers in both categories.
Four days where my blood sugars behaved, followed by waiting out a 328 and changing out a newish infusion site before bed last night.  
Drinking 16 ounces of water, peeing like Secretariat, and waiting until my blood sugar started going before I could shut my eyes and fall asleep.  

The alarm went off this morning and like the mythical Phoenix, I rose from the ashes, aka,  the warmth of my bed, downed the first of 2 cups of coffee (instead of my usual 1.5,) and went on with the business of living,working, and doing.  

Here, in the middle of a Nor�easter, I sit in my office and at my computer, rain boots by the door and lights flickering on and off - like a movie. 
The wind howls, windows shaking, and I'm doing my best to to get through my list of work  that needs to be done - and thankful that I forced myself to go to the store before dinner last night, when I realized I was precariously close to running out of juice. 

Diabetes means never running of  juice... or insulin.... or meds; pump supplies, test strips and the likes there off -but always worrying about all of the above. 

Diabetes In storm or clear skies, means thinking ahead, as well as in the moment. 
Diabetes forces us to bring backup with us, no matter where we go... or how far we have to march.

Diabetes means doing; fighting, and moving forward while simultaneously having moments were we are forced to sit and wait for diabetes to catch up. 

Diabetes means battles within and fighting exterior forces at every turn. 
Diabetes is close to the cuff and our hearts, even when we aren�t thinking about it. 

Diabetes is me, you, and everyone who we love - living with diabetes means fighting for our rights, our physical and mental health - our lives
Diabetes makes us fight not to be labeled by a disease we didn't choose. 

Diabetes makes us fight for ourselves and others - a silver lining of strength and solidarity in the storm, a silver lining that makes people with diabetes forces to be reckoned with, and no matter the sky.  

Diabetes And Not Being Forced To Wait "It" Out.

Sometimes diabetes forces us to wait, sometimes it doesn't.
Yesterday the only thing I had to wait for was my car's oil to get changed. 
Diabetes wasn't exactly on it's best behavior, but it didn't force me to wait "it" out, either. 
After 3 days of stellar blood sugars, I was greeted with an out of the blue 300 bg yesterday and in of all places, a Honda dealership parking lot and after a lunchtime oil change. 

The reason? Honestly, who the hell knows. 
It might have been because it was a Muesday; I might have miscalculated my breakfast carbs, maybe 35 hour old infusion site was circling towards craptacular, my seatbelt might have inadvertently rub against my wool coat and the infusion site the wrong way, or the the diabetes gods felt like effing me just because they could. 
Whatever the reason, it made me cranky, thirsty, and frustrated.  
I changed out my site exactly where I was, in the drivers seat of my parked car, in the of dealership�s parking lot. Then I did a correction bolus, gulped down 10 ounces of the 30 ounces of water in my recyclable water bottle and hoped for the best. 
And thankfully the best outcome happened. My numbers started coming down and I went about my day.
As much as I hate to cop to it, the glucoaster ride made me tired, and visions of a ginormous iced green tea flashed through my head. 
Did I mention I�ve been cutting back on my afternoon caffeine - as in I'm trying not to have any? 
Well I am and it�s annoying. 
My numbers were normal and stayed that way, I kept drinking water, ate my lunch, and continued forging ahead - and nobody was the wiser. 
I had a list on my desk that didn�t involve diabetes in anyway, shape, or form. 

Shit got done and I wasn't forced to wait "it" out.  
And after a month of "waiting it out," re: wrist and hand surgery - not having to wait was indeed a beautiful thing.

And I'm sharing because I know you guys"get it."   

Health Care and Ear Wax

Ever have an annoying problem not being able to hear, and it was due to a build up of what�s known as ear wax? One of the most common causes related to loss of hearing is when your ear canal produces a  waxy substance that, unless treated and cleaned regularly, can be a detriment to your ability to clearly hear sounds.

According to Healthline, your ear canal produces a waxy oil called cerumen, which is more commonly known as earwax. This wax protects the ear from dust, foreign particles, and microorganisms. It also protects ear canal skin from irritation due to water. In normal circumstances, excess wax finds its way out of the canal and into the ear opening naturally and then is washed away.

When your glands make more earwax than is necessary, it may get hard and block the ear. When you clean your ears, you can accidentally push the wax deeper, causing a blockage. Wax buildup is a common reason for temporary hearing loss. More information can be found at this website:

Cerumen, as noted by the American Hearing Research Foundation, protects the skin of the human ear canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and also provides some protection against bacteria, fungi, insects and water. Earwax consists of shed skin cells, hair, and the secretions of the ceruminous and sebaceous glands of the outside ear canal. Major components of earwax are long chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, alcohols, squalene, and cholesterol. Excess or compacted cerumen can press against the eardrum or block the outside ear canal or hearing aids, potentially causing hearing loss.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO), cerumen or earwax is healthy in normal amounts and serves as a self-cleaning agent with protective, lubricating, and antibacterial properties. The absence of earwax may result in dry, itchy ears. Self-cleaning means there is a slow and orderly movement of earwax and dead skin cells from the eardrum to the ear opening. Old earwax is constantly being transported, assisted by chewing and jaw motion, from the ear canal to the ear opening where, most of the time, it dries, flakes, and falls out.

Earwax is not formed in the deep part of the ear canal near the eardrum. It is only formed in the outer one-third of the ear canal. So, when a patient has wax blockage against the eardrum, it is often because he has been probing the ear with such things as cotton-tipped applicators, bobby pins, or twisted napkin corners. These objects only push the wax in deeper. More info about this topic is located at this site:

You�re also more likely to have wax buildup if you frequently use earphones, which can inadvertently prevent earwax from coming out of the ear canals and cause blockages, according to Healthline. The appearance of earwax varies from light yellow to dark brown. Darker colors do not necessarily indicate that there is a blockage. Signs of earwax buildup include:

         Sudden or partial hearing loss, which is usually temporary
         Tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing in the ear
         A feeling of fullness in the ear
         Ear ache

Unremoved earwax buildup can lead to infection. Contact your doctor if you experience the symptoms of infection, such as:

         Severe pain in your ear
         Pain in your ear that does not subside
         Drainage from your ear
         Persistent hearing loss
         An odor coming from your ear

It�s important to note that hearing loss, dizziness, and earaches also have many other causes. You should see your doctor if any of these symptoms are frequent. A full medical evaluation can help determine whether the problem is due to excess earwax or another health issue.

To clean the ears, wash the external ear with a cloth, but do not insert anything into the ear canal, according to the AAO. Most cases of ear wax blockage respond to home treatments used to soften wax. Patients can try placing a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial drops in the ear. Detergent drops such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide (available in most pharmacies) may also aid in the removal of wax.

Irrigation or ear syringing is commonly used for cleaning and can be performed by a physician or at home using a commercially available irrigation kit. Common solutions used for syringing include water and saline, which should be warmed to body temperature to prevent dizziness. Ear syringing is most effective when water, saline, or wax dissolving drops are put in the ear canal 15 to 30 minutes before treatment. Caution is advised to avoid having your ears irrigated if you have diabetes, a hole in the eardrum (perforation), tube in the eardrum, skin problems such as eczema in the ear canal or a weakened immune system.

Manual removal of earwax is also effective. This is most often performed by an otolaryngologist using suction or special miniature instruments, and a microscope to magnify the ear canal. Manual removal is preferred if your ear canal is narrow, the eardrum has a perforation or tube, other methods have failed, or if you have skin problems affecting the ear canal, diabetes or a weakened immune system.

Some people are troubled by repeated build-up of earwax and require ear irrigation every so often. More information about ear syringing is available at this site: .

According to the Cleveland Clinic, if left untreated, excessive ear wax may cause symptoms of ear wax impaction to become worse. These symptoms might include hearing loss, ear irritation, etc. A build-up of ear wax might also make it difficult to see into the ear, which may result in potential problems going undiagnosed.  Do not stick anything into your ears to clean them. Use cotton swabs only on the outside of the ear. 

If you have a severe enough problem with ear wax that you need to have it removed by a health professional more than once a year, discuss with them which method of prevention (if any) may work best for you. Additional details on this subject are available at this website:

Ear candling has gained a lot of attention as a home remedy for earwax removal (and overall well-being), but doctors strongly advise against it because hasn't been proved to be safe or effective. In ear candling, one end of a cone-type device is inserted into the ear canal and the other end is set on fire, with the idea that the fire and the cone form a vacuum and extract the wax. 

But trying this at home means a high risk of burning the ear canal and possibly perforating or punching a hole in the eardrum, which can permanently damage hearing, according to KidsHealth. Find more info at this site:

Ear wax buildup can be a problem, so see your doctor if you are having hearing problems or notice any of the symptoms noted in this article. Be careful with home remedies, and always get medical attention if your ears have any problems.

Until next time. 

It Doesn't Matter If You're Red Or Blue, Pre-Existing Conditions Don't Care

It doesn�t matter if you sit on the red side of the fence or the blue - pre-existing conditions don�t care. 

It doesn�t made if you�re a Democrat, Independent, or Republican - pre-existing conditions don�t care. 

Do you have a broad interpretation of The Constitution or a narrow one?  
Doesn't matter, pre-existing conditions don�t care. 
But here's the thing, insurance companies do - and thanks to the Senate voting to repeal ACA, soon insurance companies will be able to deny you and your pre-existing condition(s). 

If you have a diabetes... or a heart condition, a leaky gut, thyroid issues, blood disorders, cancer - If you have ANY health condition, you may soon be penalized and punished for it, because at 1:30 this morning, 51 Senators agreed to repeal ADA and the pre-existing condition clause was put back on the table.

And if you don�t have a pre-existing condition? 
A. Good luck with that - genetics and age have away of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. 
B. If you fall into any of the following categories - your lives will be changed for the worse: 
  1. Pre-existing conditions
  2. You have young children on CHIP
  3. You have young adult offspring currently on your health insurance plan
  4. Take birth control meds (WOMEN)
  5. If you get your insurance through your employer, the same rules (and more,) all the new will apply to you, too.
 Insurance companies will, if ACA is successfully repealed, be able to deny you or your loved ones insurance coverage for all of the above. 

Best case scenario, they will do what they did before ACA, make you wait a year before they agreed to pay for anything having to do with your pre-existing condition. 
Every drop of insulin, every cholesterol pill, every viagra pill, or chemotherapy treatment will come out of your pocket. 

Worse case scenario. They can legally refuse to cover you because you have a pre-existing condition. 

We have individual voices, and collectively they can are powerful � we must use them to protect ourselves and others living with pre-existing conditions!

Click HERE and "ACT" now to protect every single person living with diabetes and other pre-existing condition in the United States: 

DiabetesPAC makes it incredibly easy for you to email your Reps directly from the above link
DPAC provide a letter template with space for you to tell your own story � and as long as you know your ZIP Code, your email goes directly into your Reps inbox with the click of a button.

Also, pick up the phone and call (and tweet) your reps in the Senate and Congress, NOW and tell them how you feel about bringing back the pre-existing conditions clause, the repeal of ACA and all that we stand to lose.

 We have a hell of a fight ahead of us and #WeAreInThisTogether!

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