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Dos and Don'ts for diabetics shopping for insurance

August 22, 2012 (revised 9/30/2012) - Diabetics often pose significant challenges for insurance navigators. It is not because insurance is impossible to find but because diabetics often face a range of financial and psychological obstacles that impede solid financial planning decisions. This list of "Dos and Don'ts" compiled by benefits adviser Tony Novak is designed to call attention to some of these difficult issues.

Do

- Find a navigator you trust to work with one-on-one.

- Recognize that diabetes is the major controlling factor in your lifelong financial planning.

 - If money is tight, consider strategies to qualify for Medicaid while preserving family assets.

- Understand how HIPAA and COBRA federal laws work under your states laws.

- Consider the potential available wellness programs and diabetes management programs offered by your insurer and employer. These can be financially rewarding and even life-saving.

- Take minimal insurance if that is all you can afford right now. At least this gets you access into the medical treatment system should the need arise.

- Remember that when you need a doctor or specialist, often "No coverage = no appointment".

- Balance the need for health insurance,  life insurance and disability income insurance.

Don't

- Assume that insurance is not available.

- Forget to mention your diabetes until late in the insurance search.

- Assume a 'victim of disease' mentality that prevents affirmative action.

- Assume that what you doctor said about pre-diabetes was not actually a medical diagnosis.

 -Spend you entire insurance budget on health insurance, leaving nothing for life insurance and disability income insurance.

- Skimp on professional advice because money is tight. Finding the best long term strategy is more important than covering immediate expenses.