Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is working to reduce the burden of diabetes for Minnesotans, and has introduced a new online resource to help patients meet their “New Norm”—with easy links to self-management tools that can make living with diabetes easier.

BCBS chief medical officer Dr. Glenn Pomerantz.

BCBS chief medical officer Dr. Glenn Pomerantz said that in the first year of diagnosis, 85 percent of Minnesotans with diabetes do not participate in self-management education classes, “And that has a really profound impact on their health outcome. From the research we’ve learned that when you do participate in these courses and classes over 50 percent improve their health.”

Pomerantz said the first step after diagnosis is to discuss with a primary care physician whether a referral to a specialist is in order, but the insurer has a lot of helpful information on their website. “Bluecrossmn.com/newnorm, and we have a lot of information for diabetics – whether you’re newly diagnosed or you’ve had the disease for years – that will help you find resources and classes in conjunction with the American Diabetic Association and clinics and hospitals near you,” he said.

Many are overwhelmed when the diagnosis is made, but Pomerantz said it’s possible to make positive changes with the right tools. “It’s a condition that you can manage, you can have a healthier outcome,” he explained, “But it’s going to take some work and, like anything else, you have to create new habits.”

According to the CDC, around 18,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in Minnesota, each year—resulting in a current total of at least 320,000 adults, throughout the state.