Successful Diabetes Study Results May Inspire Insurance Companies to Cover Prevention

By Crystal Hernandez

Sometimes good things just keep getting better, and it may have for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. You may remember that it wasn’t very long ago when I shared with you that those at risk for developing type 2 diabetes are not necessarily destined to a lifetime of checking blood sugar levels and managing medications. Perhaps you recall hearing about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and being excited and encouraged to know the year long program that has been proven to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in those that have pre-diabetes by 58% and by 71% in those over the age of 60 is right here in Waco, available to you.

Well, you weren’t the only one excited. It appears that insurance companies were also intrigued by the possibilities of this program. That’s why the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) funded a 3-year study to see just what the results and cost savings would be if this program did indeed do what it said it would do.

They watched as 17 YMCA’s implemented this program and they awaited the results of the 8,000 folks that were served during the 3-year study. And do you know what they found out? Medicare estimated cost savings in a 15-month period to be $2650 per person when compared to similar beneficiaries not in the program. This is the first time a CMMI pilot has been proven to lower the incidence and reduce the cost of type 2 diabetes.

There are several gems that are a result of this study. One is that those in the Waco community have a program available to them that can help them receive the same results as the 8,000 people in this study. Another jewel here is that this has begun a discussion and started the process, although it may be lengthy, of making this program a covered benefit to those insured by Medicare.  This could also mean that other insurance companies may follow Medicare and Medicaid’s lead. Perhaps it even means that in the future other prevention programs may be covered benefits.  How nice it would be to know your desire for better health is supported by your insurance company.

crystal hernandez2This Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Crystal Hernandez. Crystal is the Chronic Disease Specialist for the Waco Family YMCA. She received her degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the University of Memphis. She and husband Shawn are blessed to be the parents of 4 beautiful children. In her free time, she loves hitting the pavement and pounding out a good run.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.



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