Health Care Plan Controls Employer Costs for Insuring Diabetics

January 16, 2009 ( - UnitedHealthcare is introducing a health care plan designed to help diabetics and pre-diabetics manage their conditions more effectively while controlling employers' costs of insuring them.

According to a press release, the Diabetes Health Plan will reward diabetic and pre-diabetic individuals who routinely follow independent, medically-proven steps to help manage their condition – such as regular blood sugar checks, routine exams, and preventive screenings – and use wellness coaching.  Rewards include some diabetes supplies and diabetes-related prescription drugs at no charge, as well as lower co-payments for related doctor visits, at an estimated savings of up to $500 a year.

By lowering financial barriers and providing wellness coaching, training and information, a real-time compliance monitoring system, and personal health record, UnitedHealthcare’s Diabetes Health Plan provides many new incentives to help people better manage their health.

Diabetes Health Plan participants who regularly follow their treatment plans can receive access to online monitoring and education tools at no charge, in addition to self-monitoring training and certain diabetes-related drugs (insulin, oral anti-glycemics, ARB and ACE, anti-depressants and statins) and services.  In addition, the plan provides a voluntary screening model to help individuals determine if they have undiagnosed diabetes or suffer from pre-diabetes conditions. 

To remain enrolled in the program, participants must comply with diabetes and preventive care evidence-based guidelines.

UnitedHealthcare anticipates that increased preventive steps by Diabetes Health Plan participants can help lower health care costs for employers. Total estimated annual cost for a diabetic is greater than $22,000 a year – 13-times higher than the average cost for a “healthy” employee, according to UnitedHealthcare data, the press release said.

The Diabetes Health Plan is available to self-insured commercial health plan customers and their family members with diabetes or pre-diabetes.  Employers have the option of offering the program as a stand-alone health plan or as an enhancement to an existing traditional plan.

More information is at .