HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that with the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the United States doubling over the past 15 years, insurers and employers are exploring options to better manage the chronic disease. According to recent reports from HealthLeaders-InterStudy, current and proposed disease management initiatives seek to better control expenses by preventing costly diabetes-related complications such as blindness and amputation.
The recent Tennessee Health Plan Analysis finds that as of January 2009, CoverTN, Tennessee's three-share limited benefit health coverage program for low-income workers in small businesses, will eliminate limits on insulin, diabetic supplies and oral diabetic medicines and decrease copays on those items.
"The prevalence of diabetes is greater in Tennessee than the national average," said Don Mooradian, analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "By reducing the cost of medications associated with diabetes management in the CoverTN program, the state hopes to decrease barriers to care and prevent costly disease-related complications. In fact, the state is looking across its government-sponsored plans to offer consistent diabetes-related care benefits."
In Virginia, employers and insurers are looking at a new study from the Virginia Business Coalition on Health to inform their development of strategies to improve diabetes management and control costs. The study pinpoints the diabetes incidence by geographic area and quantifies how money is spent on treating diabetes in the state, reporting on 2007 patient demographics, use of services, hospital and physician charges and pharmacotherapy in five Virginia markets -- Danville, Lynchburg, Norfolk, Richmond/Petersburg and Roanoke -- as compared to the state and the nation. According to the recent Mid-Atlantic Health Plan Analysis, the report also identifies opportunities for patient education.
"Every major insurer in Virginia has some form of a diabetes management program, but as the incidence of diabetes continues to increase, employers are now looking closely at how much they've been spending on treating diabetes," said Jan Shuxteau, analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "Information about patient demographics, services provided and costs will help businesses analyze their health insurance policies. While employers don't often review specific disease coverage when selecting health plans, quantifying the incidence and cost of diabetes might move them in this direction."
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