From Reutlingen, Germany:
I am an Aussie living in Germany, moving to Gaithersburg, Montgomery County, Maryland in November this year. Where do I find a diabetes doctor and other parents who have children with type 1 diabetes? Also, what type of medical insurance do I need to cover this disease?
Welcome to Montgomery County! By coincidence, I live in the community bordering Gaithersburg to the north.
One benefit to our area is the availability of high quality primary and specialty medical care. You should have no trouble finding a pediatrician and endocrinologist to care for your child. A good primer for understanding the types of health insurance available in Maryland and how to obtain it is the Consumer's Guide to Health Insurance produced by the Center for Health Policy at Georgetown University. In many cases, your choice of health insurer/health plan will guide your selection of medical providers because your costs will be lower if you use a provider that is in the plan network. Another issue to consider is if you will be obtaining coverage as part of an employer group or if you will be obtaining coverage individually (or as a family unit). Individual contracts with some insurers can be subject to a exclusion of coverage for preexisting conditions for a six month or one year period. However, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are not allowed to impose a waiting period. Coverage obtained through an employer's group plan are not subject to these coverage exclusions. If your family cannot afford health coverage, the state of Maryland provides subsidized health insurance coverage for children through the Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program (MCHIP) program, although there are restrictions for families that are not citizens.
[Editor's comment: The best place to find a pediatric endocrinologist for your child is the Children's National Medical Center, which has an Outpatient Center in Rockville, near Gaithersburg. They may be able to provide you with information about local support groups. The Capitol Chapter of the JDRF may also run local support groups or be able to put you in contact with other parents. BH]
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