Managing Diabetes at Work

Congratulations on your new job! Here is some information that may be helpful for managing diabetes in the workplace:

  • When starting a job, consider telling your boss you have diabetes. Let him or her know what you need to do each day to care for your condition. Employers are required by federal law to make reasonable accommodations that allow you the time and space needed to care for your health issue(s). Reasonable accommodations might include: allowing for time to check your blood glucose level and administer insulin.
  • After you have been with your employer for a year, consider having your endocrinologist or diabetes care provider complete Family Medical Leave paperwork (FMLA). This will allow you to be excused from work to attend your endocrinology visits and take necessary absences if you become ill. You may be required to use all of your sick days or vacation time before you can use your FMLA.
  • If you have a full-time job with benefits (health insurance, prescription benefits) you will be asked to make choices about your benefits once a year. This open enrollment period when you select your benefits is especially important for people with diabetes because out-of-pocket expenses for your prescriptions, labs, appointments, and supplies can be very different depending on the choices you make.  Pay close attention to these terms:
  • Many companies have Human Resource Departments (HR) where a health insurance specialist can help you navigate your options. You can only change your benefits elections once per year, so it is very important for you to be thoughtful and informed in your choices.
  • The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation website has a very comprehensive guide to insurance issues specific to type 1 diabetes. There you’ll find help with:
    • Understanding common insurance terminology
    • Diabetes prescription and insulin costs
    • Denials/appeals: what to do when your insurance company denies coverage
    • Applying for an insurance exception for type 1 diabetes
    • Common issues around insulin, insulin pumps, CGMS and test strips
    • Obtaining prior authorizations
    • Choosing the best health insurance plan for type 1 diabetes, including key questions to ask