Healthful Tips for Managing Diabetes From the JHMB & WellPATH Program
Every so often an issue will poke the surface and leave a telling mark that something needs to be adjusted. No – we’re not talking about blood droplets, but we are talking about test strips, routine diabetes testing, and other healthful tips to help you along your path to better health.
Let’s Look at the Numbers
Diabetes affects more than 30 million people in the U.S. In California alone, approximately 4 million adults have diabetes. Out of the 4 million, an estimated 1 million have diabetes but don’t know it. About 10.7 million Californians have prediabetes with blood sugar levels higher than normal but that are not high enough to be diagnosed, and each year, an estimated 263,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes.
The Importance of Routine Testing
Once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to stay on top of the condition by performing routine tests to monitor and manage your blood sugar (glucose) levels. Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend that you monitor your levels once-a-day, twice daily, or maybe even multiple times a day. In addition to recording your levels, you should also keep a log of your meals to identify trends in your blood sugar readings.
Getting the Most From Your Plan – Ordering Test Strips
To monitor your levels regularly, you’ll need a blood glucose meter and test strips. While test strips are provided over-the-counter (OTC) throughout the country, OneTouch® brand test strips are covered under the District’s PPO Plan with a doctor’s prescription.
Under the current plan rules, your doctor may prescribe up to 360 test strips for 30 days or up to 1080 for 90 days. However, OneTouch® test strips generally come in boxes of 25/50/100 strips. So if you’re testing twice-a-day (60 times per month), make sure that your doctor is prescribing at least 100 strips per month. In this way, you ensure that you always have enough strips on hand to get you through the month.
To use the OneTouch® test strips, you’ll need to also acquire a OneTouch® standard glucose meter. The meters, themselves, are excluded from plan coverage, however they are provided at no charge to you through a manufacturer’s coupon provided by Elixir (the District’s prescription drug plan provider) to the pharmacy. The coupon is also available for download here (www.JHMBealthConnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Elixir-Preferred-OneTouch-Glucometer-2021.pdf), should you need to show additional proof at your pharmacy.
If you and your doctor require the use of a different standard glucose meter due to medical necessity, ask your doctor to submit a request for Prior Authorization (PA) to Elixir. The same holds true for continuous glucose monitors, which are also excluded from current plan coverage.
Follow Up With Your Doctor/Pharmacist
To get the most out of your plan benefits, we recommend that you speak with your doctor to see if the Plan’s preferred meter and test strip products (OneTouch®) are right for you and your diabetes management plan. Also, make sure that your doctor’s prescriptions for your test strips match your personal usage pattern, so that you always have enough on hand. To get a OneTouch® meter, bring your prescription and insurance card to your retail pharmacy. If you happen to be charged for the cost of the meter, have the pharmacist use the voucher noted above to receive your meter for free.
WellPATH Resources to Manage Your Health
The WellPATH Employee Wellness Program offers a wealth of resources and services to help you manage your diabetes, including keeping you physically active, providing healthful eating tips/recipes, and offering free annual wellness screenings. Check out many of the following resources available to you by visiting www.JHMBHealthConnect.com/wellpath:
- Annual Wellness Screenings: WellPATH partners with Pinnacle Training Systems to provide WellPATH-eligible individuals with personalized health and wellness profiles. The program offers free 20-minute wellness screenings that include body composition testing, blood pressure testing, blood glucose testing (Hb-A1C), cholesterol screening and wellness coaching.
- Group Fitness Classes: WellPATH offers group fitness classes that cover a wide range of interests. Classes are led by Pinnacle Training Systems certified instructors who have been trained to meet the needs of all fitness levels and skills. Beginners are welcome!
- Monthly Healthy Recipes: Each month, the WellPATH Program shares healthy recipes via the biweekly email newsletter, as well as the annual archive online. Review the archive to find a meal that’s right for your diet.
- Wellness Challenges: Throughout the year, the WellPATH Program serves up wellness challenges to jumpstart and/or cultivate healthy habits among its members. These challenges typically run 6-8 weeks and offer individual and work site incentives based on dieting, exercising, and educational activities.
Review some of the following resources online for more details on diabetes test strips and monitoring/managing your condition:
- WebMD: Diabetes Test Strips
- Healthline: Glucose Test Strips for Diabetes: Uses, Accuracy, and Costs Explained
- Medical News Today: How to Test for Diabetes at Home