NBCH report: Diabetes remains crucial healthcare cost-driver for employers

WASHINGTON Eighty percent of diabetics have at least one annual hemoglobin A1c test and cholesterol screening every year, but one-third still have uncontrolled blood sugar, according to a new report by the National Business Coalition on Health.

The report – an analysis based on health plan survey data from the NBCH’s eValue8 program, a request-for-information tool used by employers, coalitions and their purchaser members to measure health plan performance and set expectations – outlines treatment goals for diabetes and the approaches that health plans are using to prevent the disease and improve its care.

The report found that virtually all health plans offer a personal health assessment to identify people at risk for diabetes, but only 3% of members respond to it, and not all employers offer it through their health plans. Less than 20% of plans offer lower copays, deductibles or premiums to members who choose high-quality primary care doctors, and less than half have any financial rewards to patients for selecting higher quality physicians. At the same time, 95% report back to physicians on gaps in care, 70% can show physicians how they compare with peers, and 35% offer financial rewards and incentives for adopting electronic health systems.

“By focusing on the management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, we are working to move the health delivery system away from demand management and cost-shifting, to one that promotes health, prevents illness, coordinates care delivery and ultimately addresses the factors driving up costs,” NBCH president and CEO Andrew Webber said.

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