Addressing Top Cost Conditions: Diabetes

Learn how employers can lower diabetes care costs through programs and initiatives.

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March 31, 2021

According to the 2021 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, 36% of surveyed employers count diabetes among their top three health care cost trend drivers. With diabetes (and prediabetes) affecting so many employees worldwide, it is no surprise that this condition impacts employers’ bottom lines as well.

Employers can consider the following strategies to improve the quality of care delivered to employees with diabetes, thus lowering costs for both employers and employees and improving the timeliness of diagnosis and effectiveness of care. With diabetes, prevention and early detection play a critical role: Employers can help employees reverse their prediabetes through various well-being initiatives. For patients with diabetes, early diagnosis and managing HbA1c levels have a direct impact on health care cost and reducing the disease progression. Some strategies for managing the cost of diabetes are described below:

  • 1 | Ensure that employees have access to screenings for abnormal blood glucose as outlined by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), either with their primary care physician, at a biometric screening hosted at the worksite or by using an at-home biometric screening kit. Provide an incentive to boost interest in the glucose screening.
  • 2 | Offer a digital platform or program endorsed by the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP), a yearlong program operated by a partnership of public and private organizations that seeks to reverse prediabetes and prevent diabetes. Offer access to such programs at no cost to employees. Include perks like Bluetooth-connected scales and no-cost supplies like test strips and blood glucometer to increase adherence and generate excitement among employees.
  • 3 | Work with the health plans to determine the burden of prediabetes across your population and identify locations where targeted communication may be most effective in reaching employees in need of company resources.
  • 4 | Provide regular, possibly targeted communications to employees about the risk of prediabetes and how they can address this condition before it progresses to diabetes.
  • 5 | Work with your care management team to ensure that support offered to your members living with diabetes is comprehensive, includes a behavioral health component and is available in culturally sensitive formats. Evaluate your outcomes and health risk data with an eye on health disparities.
  • 6 | Curate and offer a holistic preventive health and well-being program to support those living with diabetes and to help reduce the risk of diabetes in the workforce:
  • Offer employees on-site services such as pneumococcal vaccination and yearly flu shots.
  • Promote physical well-being to ensure that employees are moving enough throughout the day.
  • Evaluate on-site nutrition services to ensure that diabetes-friendly options are made available, whether in the cafeteria, at catered meetings, in vending machines and part of social/celebratory events.

To learn more about these strategies, view the playback video below from the Business Group’s virtual learning series on Addressing Top Cost Conditions, featuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ONEOK. Additionally, more extensive resources can be found to the right.

Duration 31 Minutes

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