A Moving Experience
Taking your diabetes on a cross-country trek.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
December 2007 —My family recently completed a move to the opposite coast. That is, if the term "completed" is appropriate, given the number of unfinished moving-related tasks we're still facing. I'm finding that moving my diabetes care plan to another coast was one of the biggest challenges that I encountered.
I started off on the right track. Even though it wasn't time for my regular checkup, I visited my diabetes doctor in my former city to inform him of my plans to relocate and to be sure that my health status hadn't changed. I also asked him to order blood tests so that I could get a reading on my lab values — hemoglobin A1c, lipids, and thyroid hormone levels- before the transition. Finally, I made sure that my prescriptions were current and would last through the transition time.
The first challenge of the moving process was the period of time when we lived in a hotel- about two weeks- with the three children. Three restaurant meals per day combined with little time for exercise (along with the stress of hotel life with the kids) made it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not impossible, but certainly more difficult. Adhering to a regular eating schedule was also harder when spending the days looking for a new home.
But the most time-consuming challenge was deciding on a new insurance plan. Our family had a choice of ten plans- PPOs, HMOs, and mixed plans with features of both. And did we need a health care spending account? There were so many variables to consider that even I, as a trained physician, wasn't sure I was making the right choices. For me, it was important to have a choice of diabetes specialists and to have a plan with good prescription coverage. For the rest of the family, access to quality primary care with minimal co-payments was the biggest priority. Finally, I hoped for a plan involving minimal paperwork on our part.
I spent hours researching the various plans, and talked to friends and colleagues for physician recommendations. After narrowing my choice down to two or three insurance plans, I then checked whether the physicians I had chosen were participants in those plans. I was lucky to receive invaluable guidance from a new neighbor (who happens to be a senior healthcare executive in the area) that helped with the final decision.
From a healthcare standpoint, the moving process seemed very different for me this time around. When I recall how easily I chose insurance plans in the past (in my pre-diabetes life), I focused on the availability of primary care and gave little thought to the amount of coverage for prescriptions or the participation of certain medical specialists in the plan. Now, I know that specialist health care is a necessity rather than an eventuality, and I'll need at least seven prescriptions filled each month. Although the decisions were tougher now, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that I am grateful to have access to excellent medical care, diabetes experts, and insurance coverage. I'm glad-and lucky- that these decisions were mine to make.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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