Switching Health Insurance with Diabetes (and much much more). AKA- adulting!
So I recently switched health insurance (YAY). Needless to say it was an adventure. I had to go out swinging with my old insurance company (really no shocker there), but going out swinging with them was stressful because I was in limbo. My supplies have also dwindled (glad I’m a supplies hoarder for now when it mattered), and basically timing was not on my side. Guess what amazing notification I got on my CGM while I was in the middle of changing my information for everything? “Transmitter battery low.”
Here are some questions I had along with some thoughts floating around in my head:
- What are the policies within my state?
- Do I have enough supplies?
- How the hell do I do this?
- I have no idea what I’m doing.
- There’s so many little things to keep in mind!
- Is there someone I can ask for help with this? Someone that gets it, with Diabetes?
- Will a google search give me all of the information I need?
- I need to pretend to know what I’m doing so everyone will take me seriously.
- Who do I contact? When?
- Will things with the new insurance company be better?
- Did I think of the non-Diabetes parts of my life?
- (and so on).
I realized, I had NO idea what I was doing. I know how to stand up for myself with my insurance company. I know to keep track of every interaction and keep track of records. But switching? This was new territory. I then again realized, I probably could have done more to prepare for this and earlier.
I then went to google.
There’s ALL kinds of information about your rights and articles about fighting for coverage, but finding a how to switch was difficult. I searched in general, specifically for diabetes, and even mental health. Maybe I didn’t google correctly, but I didn’t find a lot that was helpful for me.
I did however find this article about changing jobs, which included changing health insurance.
You know what I found helpful? The people around me, specifically other people with Diabetes who had switched health insurance. But my case was slightly unique. I’m 23. And most people are staying on their parent’s plans until 26. But for many many reasons, this was not an option for me.
But I still had more questions. I still didn’t know what I was doing. I’ve been fumbling around trying to figure it all out. Wait, that’s just pretending to be an adult!
So I’ve created a “how to”
based off the research I was able to do, my own experience, and the advice I got from people around me.
These steps are in no particular order. And everyone is different!
- A few months before you’re switching, if you have automatic refills, turn the automatic part off. (did this)
- You might need to follow-up or recheck with them (did not do this and had supplies shipped after the new year)
- Go over your new benefits to see what you need. (did this)
- Find out what the polices are concerning getting on your new coverage. (did this)
- Get and (fight) for the proper documentation you need from your old company, care providers, your job. Don’t back down if someone is giving you trouble (did this, way too much honestly)
- Expect things to go wrong (my insurance was in the middle of getting confirmed when my CGM transmitter started going out. The battery died before everything got approved so I’m taking a CGM Break- those are good for mental health!) I know that isn’t glass half-full, but it’s better to prepared. (when it comes to health insurance, I’ve always expected things to go wrong. Hopefully that changes).
- Make sure you have plenty of supplies in case there are any hiccups along the way. (I have done this always)
- Make a check-list (did this, but late in the game)
- Keep track of documentation (emails, letters, calls). (did this).
- Ask questions. (did this, all the time. But I probably could have done more).
- Start early and plan early (did not really do this- oops?)
- You can probably get your policy number before you get your card. (did this, by accident. Luckily)
- Make a list of your doctors, pharmacies, and supply order companies so that you can contact them to make changes. (did this, but a little late in the game).
- Find out what the policies are concerning losing your coverage. Try to get in writing. (did this, but was hard to do the right way)
- Get employee numbers or names when you call anyone. (did this, well. Have always done this).
- Ask for help and advice. Did someone at your job switch? Do they have Diabetes? What was the experience like for them? (you bet I did this!)
- Make sure you know the policies and laws in your state (did this).
- Know what your rights are. (always try to do this).
- Don’t forget the “non-Diabetes” bits related to your health and health insurance. (did this).
The whole process of switching health insurance was honestly very stressful. For several month… There was a lot of fighting and waiting and unknowns (which is a part of life- but not fun when it comes to Diabetes).
I am reminded that not every health insurance is created equally. You never know what someone is going through when it comes to health insurance.
But again, please remember everyone is different! Also- there’s more than just Diabetes going on (am I right?)
Good luck to anyone switching health insurance!
JDRF released a T1D Health Insurance Guide. Check it out!
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