January 19, 2013

Out of Line or On Point?

I was reading the article High Blood Glucose What's Behind the Symptoms? on Diabetes Self Management and I, once again, began blogging in my head.  (I'm going to try to get it out here this time though, because my brain is kind of crowded these days.) 

It took me back to shortly after Ally's diagnosis.  Our lives had been turned upside down and we were on information overload.  We were learning the difference in high blood glucose and low blood glucose.  Heck, we even had to learn what blood glucose meant - for real!

We were at a follow up appointment at the endocrinologist's office.  The nurse educator stopped in to continue our diabetes education.  After all, the 8 hour crash course we received in the hospital at diagnosis couldn't possibly cover all things diabetes.  She asked me if I knew about neuropathy.  I did not appreciate her concern on that day.  I was five months pregnant, brand new to diabetes, tired, overwhelmed, sad...I responded, "Yes, I have read about it, but honestly I have blocked it out.  That's the way I'm coping for now, blocking out all the bad things."  She did not like my response.  In fact, she responded in a downright rude way.

Maybe I deserved it.  Maybe she just wanted to make sure that I understood that there are serious complications of diabetes.  Maybe she didn't like my attitude.  Who knows!  But what I do know is that she was not wrong for trying to educate us about the long term complications of diabetes.  I think that, in the moment, I thought that I did not need to worry about these complications.  I think that I was sure those things would never happen to us, or at least I didn't need to think about them for many years.  I was wrong.

You see, high blood glucose causes permanent damage to your body.  It doesn't happen when you are a certain age.  It happens slowly over time.  But each and every high blood glucose contributes to these complications.  The nurse educator was not out of line for "putting me in my place".  She was giving us the knowledge and tools to keep those complications at bay for as long as possible.  She was making sure that we understood the importance of keeping blood sugars in control.  She was on point, and for that, I am grateful.


January 17, 2013

Hello? Is this thing on?

I have been blogging in my head for months now.  Trust me when I tell you it is some great stuff!  Only problem is that you couldn't hear it could you?  (I think the microphone was on mute.)
Well, you are lucky enough to hear what's on my mind today!  Insurance!  I am so grateful for our health insurance, really, I am!!  But sometimes it causes me undo stress.  Why does it have to be so confusing?  I don't get that.
Our insurance has not changed.  Not even the copay amount, which seems to have gone up each of the past several years.  Nothing changed.  They sent us a new card, actually 5 new cards!  Yep, I have to carry a separate card for each individual member of our family.  And each of these cards now has a new ID number.  Nothing about our insurance changed.  However, because the ID number changed, EVERY SINGLE doctor, pharmacy, medical supply company, etc, etc, has to re-enter all of the insurance information.  I keep getting calls saying that our insurance is not valid.  It is, they just need the new number.
This week, I get a call from the medical supply company that ships Ally's insulin pump supplies along with her CGM sensors.  They need the new info before they can ship her supplies this month.  No problem.  I had to call back as I had missed their call.  After waiting 40 minutes on hold, I spoke with a customer service individual, who had to transfer me to another department because there are sensors on her order...and those are "specialty" items!  After waiting another 40 minutes, I was irritated knowing that they only needed my daughter's new ID number.  Pink cheeks. 
The kind woman tells me that we are all set.  "How would you like to cover your copay?  It will be $6 hundred...blah...blah...blah."  Sorry, I didn't hear anything after the words six hundred!  She said that our insurance pays 20%.  Wait!  Our insurance pays 90%!  Pinker cheeks.
I told her not to process the order because that cannot be correct.  I immediately called our insurance company and waited another 20 minutes on hold.  She confirmed that nothing had changed on our insurance and her supplies were definitely covered at 90%.  After another call to supply company and another 40 minutes of waiting, I finally got it all resolved.  Same exact copay that I had been paying for the past year plus her deductible.  So basically, I spent over 2 hours unnecessarily.  Red cheeks!
I realize this is not the insurance company's fault.  Well, maybe if they hadn't changed those silly ID numbers!  It is just so frustrating!!!
This little incident has me thinking about Ally's future.  Funny how so many things have me going there in my head...she's only 9 for goodness sakes!  As I sat there, in my flush-faced frustration, I thought to myself Ally will have to deal with this for her whole life.  And then I began thinking about how I will prepare her for this part of managing her diabetes, so that one day when she does have to handle these insurance incidents, she will handle it with more grace than I did! 
So, when I figure out how to understand insurance and get organized with it, I will most definitely begin a plan for preparing Ally for this stuff!  The only notes I've made in my notebook to future Ally are 1) Know your insurance!  Know your deductables, and plan ahead for those - they will surprise you every January if you don't.  Know your copays.  Know what is covered, and at what %;  2) Pay attention!  Pay attention to the EOBs.  Pay attention to the bills that come.  and 3) Be organized.
That's all I've got!
In the meantime, feel free to share your ideas for the future Ally about staying on top of insurance :) 



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