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Keep an eye on sugar levels to prevent diabetes complications

Mar 11, 2024
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If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you likely already know the risks that come with high blood sugar levels—heart or kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage or stroke. Low levels can pose problems, too, like blurred vision, nightmares, headaches, confusion or lightheadedness.

Diabetes has become a national epidemic—there are at least 37 million people diagnosed with the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Maine, more than 113,000 people—or about 10% of the state’s adults—have been diagnosed with diabetes, with an estimated 32,000 who likely have diabetes, but don’t know it.

It takes more than an occasional A1c blood test, a measure of average blood sugar over three months, to effectively manage Type 2 diabetes and prevent the serious complications that can go with it.  Even so, there’s a good chance that for many with diabetes, daily glucose monitoring can be hit or miss. Let’s face it: It can be a hassle to keep track with frequent finger sticks.

Daily monitoring empowers you to take control of your diabetes, whether measuring a few times a day with a glucose meter or using a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM) that tracks patterns 24/7. Daily monitoring can also provide real-time information and reveal patterns, like whether sugar spikes after a meal or drops to dangerous levels overnight. It can also show you how your body responds in real time to specific food, exercise or the medications you take.

For patients who need them, CGMs do more than put an end to the frequent finger sticks. With a reader or an app, CGMs provide ongoing, current information about what’s affecting blood sugar levels. And through your CGM app or account, you can share your information directly to healthcare teams and integrate with insulin pumps, allowing precise adjustments to dosing.  

With Prior Approval, Community Health Options now provides coverage for the Freestyle Libre or Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring System for Members who need that level of care. The company also covers Ozempic, Mounjaro and Trulicity, among select other GLP-1 medications (also with Prior Approval). You can find details on the company’s formulary. Members should talk with their providers to create a personalized diabetes management plan.

Community Health Options Members can also get help managing diabetes with free glucose monitoring devices and save money on test strips available by mail order through Express Scripts. Members on non-HSA plans can sign up for the Chronic Illness Support Program, which covers routine office visits, nutritional counseling, A1c blood tests and diabetic supplies listed on the company’s formulary. For those on HSA plans, Express Scripts’ Lifescan OneTouch Reveal program provides a free OneTouch Verio Flex meter that syncs with an app and tracks trends, while sharing the information with Express Scripts pharmacists who monitor results and help patients to overcome any obstacles to treatment.

Members with questions about how Community Health Options supports diabetes management can call the Maine-based Member Services team at (855) 624-6463 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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We recently sat down with David Stuart, senior vice president and chief operations officer at Community Health Options, to talk about why it’s important for companies to find health insurance partners that can facilitate access to health and wellness resources to help their employees thrive. Here’s what he had to say.