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November is Diabetes Awareness Month: We've Got News You Can Use

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

There are many forms of diabetes including prediabetes.

According to the CDC – approximately 88 million American adults — more than 1 in 3 — have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, more than 84% don’t know they have it. With prediabetes, the cells in your body don’t respond normally to insulin causing the pancreas to make more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually, your pancreas can’t keep up and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes that can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Know the Signs & Symptoms

Prediabetes puts you at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. You can have prediabetes for years with no clear symptoms, so it often goes undetected until serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes show up. A simple blood test can determine if you have prediabetes, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you are 45 years or older and have any of the following risk factors:

  • Overweight
  • A parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active less than three times a week
  • Have gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome

Your employee benefits can help you with diabetes self-management, education and support, as well as provide resources through our well-being program In the Green. There are ways to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, such as staying active and reducing your body weight. Sign up for sessions to learn more about the two free weight-management programs being offered -- Real Appeal on Nov. 4; and Naturally Slim on Nov. 12. Maintaining regular physical activity requires at least 150 minutes a week -- just 30 minutes a day, five days a week -- of brisk walking or a similar activity. It's easy to fit in a home workout with virtual classes offered through the UNT Rec CenterThe good news is if you have prediabetes, it can be reversed. Check out this video.

Did you know?: The diabetic drug supply changed as of Sept. 1

Learn more about how to get the OneTouch glucometer and OneTouch test strips at no cost to participants

HealthSelect of Texas or HealthSelect Out-of-State participants now pay nothing for diabetic supplies such as certain brands of test stripes, lancets and lancing devices under the HealthSelect Prescription Drug Program (PDP) administered by OptumRX when they use an in-network pharmacy and present their prescription drug ID card.  

Consumer Directed HealthSelect participants can get lancets, lancing devices, syringes, pen needles and OneTouch test strips at no cost after they meet their annual deductible.

Join the Free Glucose Meter Program

The Free Glucose Meter Program lets HealthSelect of Texas and HealthSelect Out-of State participants get a certain OneTouch Verio glucometer at no cost when they order it through LifeScan (the manufacturer of One Touch products). Once their provider determines which glucometer they should use, participants can then:

  • Contact the LifeScan Service Center at (866) 355-9962 or visit the website at www.onetouch.orderpoints.com.
  • Enter the Brochure Code: 594PRX100
  • LifeScan will deliver the glucometer to their address.

To get the OneTouch glucometer at no cost, participants must order through LifeScan. If they prefer to get their glucometer at a retail pharmacy, they will need a valid prescription from their doctor. They will be responsible for the applicable copay/coinsurance.

Items covered at in-network pharmacies with a copay/coinsurance

The HealthSelect PDP benefit may cover other diabetic supplies at in-network pharmacies with a copay or coinsurance. After meeting their annual deductible, participants will pay the applicable copay/coinsurance depending on the tier status of the item they are purchasing. They can call OptumRx Customer Care at (855) 828-9834 (TTY: 711) or visit healthselectrx.com to find out more about the cost of a particular item.

The pharmacy benefit covers the following items with a copay/coinsurance: Insulin, diabetic oral agents, certain glucometers, certain test strips, alcohol wipes and swabs, glucagon emergency kits and syringes and pen needles.

Coverage of diabetic supplies and equipment under the HealthSelect medical plans administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) remains unchanged, so participants can continue to receive covered diabetic supplies and equipment through their medical benefits if they prefer.

To learn more about the HealthSelect PDP’s diabetic supply coverage change, encourage your employees to read these "Frequently Asked Questions" or call OptumRx Customer Care toll-free at (855) 828-9834 (TTY: 711).

Getting your eyes examined is especially important for those living with diabetes as it could increase your risk of eye complication over time. Get a clear view of your benefits by using your Superior Vision plan for an annual exam of $15 for each covered member.

Caring for your feet while living with diabetes can be challenging so check out these tips and resources from your Employee Assistance Program on foot protection and self-care. 

Feeling overwhelmed and not sure how to begin making a lifestyle change, contact a BCBSTX representative to help manage your care with a dedicated team wait for you at (800) 252-8039 (TTY:711) between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. CT Monday - Friday, and ask to speak with a clinician about the Care Management Program. Check out these tips and resources available both in English or Spanish from the National Diabetes Prevention Program.