How to Buy Health Insurance with Diabetes


You absolutely must have health insurance. If you work, you will probably buy it as part of your employer’s benefit package. If your employer does not provide it, if you are self-employed, or if you are ineligible to be a dependent of your spouse’s policy (or if you don’t have a spouse), buy a policy yourself. Yes, it’s expensive, but so are your car payments and a home mortgage, and you con­sider those an absolutely necessity of life. Health insurance is equally essential.

As a private person, you have two main choices about how you buy health insurance. You can either go it alone and buy an individual policy, or you can join an organization and become eli­gible for its group health benefits. Both have advantages and dis­advantages, and you will have to do research to find out which is the best and most economical way to go.

Health Insurance

Before you are issued a policy, you will be given a form to fill out about your general health and past medical history. When you come to the check-off box about diabetes, don’t lie. If you do, you will never be able to present a claim for health care that has anything remotely to do with the disease. Or if you do present a claim, the carrier will find out you lied (and it will find out) and punish you. The two most common forms of punitive action are refusing to pay any diabetes-related claims and cancellation of your policy.

Whichever way you purchase health insurance, and which­ever type you buy, you will receive a contract. Read it carefully— even the fine print—because you have a chronic disease and a preexisting condition, so you may be in for a rude surprise when filing claims for diabetes-related expenses. There are some impor­tant things diabetics need to know before making a decision about purchasing health insurance:

  • Are there limits on the number of times you can visit your pri­mary care physician each year?
  • Does the plan reimburse for diabetes education or services of a nutritionist, exercise therapist, and other nonmedical specialists?
  • Are diabetes supplies (syringes, glucose monitors, lancets, test strips, and the like) covered?
  • What about prescriptions: is there a plan to reduce costs? If so, are there restrictions on the types of drugs covered, such as ge­neric only? Will you have a copayment, and how many times can a prescription be refilled?
  • Are medical specialist services covered, and are there restric­tions such as a requirement for referral from a primary care physician (called a gatekeeper in many managed care plans)?
  • Are there restrictions on what hospitals you can use?
  • Are you covered when you are out of the country?
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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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