DBlog Week Day 4: Healthcare & Insurance

Oh goodie, another subject I have lots to say about! My experiences with the healthcare system and insurance companies definitely fall along a spectrum, from truly horrifying to truly outstanding. I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic endocrinologist who I’ve been seeing for over 10 years (and he treats adults, so I don’t have to worry about switching any time soon)- I know having a doctor you like is a rare thing in the diabetes community! I have never been scared of, or dreaded, any appointment I’ve ever had with him, although anticipating my A1C results is a different story. But no matter what my readings have been, he never makes me feel bad- we just look for ways to improve (which are often helpful). Other care providers- my PCP, eye doctor, and a new CDE who helped me get back on the pump after a yearlong return to MDI- have been similarly positive.

I’ve had some negative experiences with other healthcare providers, including a CDE who entered my settings incorrectly during a pump training (which threw me off for several hours until I noticed and corrected the mistakes) and a provider who INSISTED that I could ONLY have three basal rates (morning, afternoon, and night. Needless to say, the changes resulted in- well, a fiasco, and I quickly switched them back.). My experiences with my current health insurance have been surprisingly good- the people I’ve spoken to have been polite and helpful, I’ve never had much trouble getting supplies covered, and if there is ever a problem, they are quick to resolve it.

Like yesterday- my mail-order pharmacy had called to say a “prior authorization” was required for my test strips. No one there could explain to us why it was suddenly being required, or what a prior authorization even was. Frustrated, I contacted my insurance company, and I spoke to a woman who calmly and thoroughly explained the whole situation- she wouldn’t let me get off the phone until I was sure I had no more questions! I was pleasantly surprised and impressed.

While I’m lucky to have had a relatively smooth experience (with the exception of my pharmacy- see day 2 for my rant about them), I know others have had to struggle- finding a good endo, working with insurance- and all of this makes managing diabetes harder. Many of the people I know with diabetes are planning to go into health professions-so that they can help others with diabetes. This is a trend that I hope will continue; I think people of all ages could benefit significantly from working with endos, CDEs and nurses with diabetes. I myself hope to be a diabetic nurse practitioner one day. Diabetic biomedical engineers could change the face of the d-tech industry; nutritionists with diabetes could also have a lot to offer.

I’ve always said that studying diabetes in a book or a lab is completely different from LIVNG with it every day; providers with diabetes understand what might or might not be a feasible solution to a patient’s problem, even if it’s something non-traditional. Maybe that provider would have trusted me when I said three basal rates wouldn’t work for me if she understood this…

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