January 7, 2012

How Insurance may affect diabetes care

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This article is not going to be well received by federal agencies responsible for human health. However this is great news for those ladies and gentleman who may someday need to get the agencies to snap out of it and cover people with diabetes a little more cautiously. The findings of the study suggest a discrepancy in federal provisions for people with diabetes in insurance coverage and patient needs.

Clearly the population is experiencing a disconnect between the continual coverage needed with diabetes care and the broken job market. One of the major benefits offered with gainful employment is the perk of health insurance. In fact, some retirees have returned to the workforce for the very reason of health coverage. Should you be out of a job and depending on the federal agencies for health insurance coverage (Medicaid or Medicare) you may want to make it known that more needs to be done for the welfare of your health with diabetes.

Diabetes imposes and ultra important reason to be on top and ahead of the game when you’re up against the forces of glucose. This study examined over 3,000 patients between 2005 and 2007. Upon reviewing the electronic medical records of these  patients, it was critiqued to see if these patients received 4 vital services: lipid screening, influenza vaccination, kidney health screening, and HbA1c.

Of the patients reviewed, the patients who had continuous health coverage received the 4 vital services more often than those with no coverage or interrupted coverage. Patients with no coverage or with interruptions in coverage received significantly fewer of the services than patients with continuous health insurance coverage. This could implicate devastating results for people who encounter an insurance gap while living with diabetes.

Of interest is the finding that as insurance premiums increased – the services offered to the patients were not increased. So as the COLA (cost of living adjustment) is applied to insurance premiums, taxes, price of oil, etc. it does not seem to extend to the cost of living with diabetes. With this information, I think that the inflation of diabetes should be an economic indicator.

It’s pretty obvious that with an unemployment rate as high as it is – it’s inevitable that federal assistance is going to be tapped for the coverage of someone living with diabetes. It is essential that public insurance coverage must be continuous to ensure that patients receive consistent and timely care. There may be a break in your employment but this cannot be transferred to your health.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the Federal agency saddled with protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. When  jobs lapse and insurance falls into the coffers of the Federal agencies – shouldn’t the essential human services that diabetes demands on an American be covered?

The study, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, appears in the January/February issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

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