Anticipating Reform Bill Changes, Insurer Takes Novel Diabetes Approach

A UnitedHealth Group-YMCA diabetes partnership could signal the rise of collaborative, insurance company-led disease prevention and management programs.

The recent announcement of a partnership between UnitedHealth Group, YMCA of the USA, and retail pharmacies, aimed at controlling the costs of diabetes treatment, could signal the rise of collaborative, insurance company-led disease prevention and management programs, as insurers prepare for the phasing in of coverage requirements of the healthcare reform bill.

Under the terms of the partnership, YMCAs that offer the “YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program,” will be reimbursed by UnitedHealth for each participant who is referred through UnitedHealth Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance.

YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is based on the NIH/CDC-funded Diabetes Prevention Program, whose success was replicated by researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.

Being forced to insure greater numbers of people, including those with chronic and/or pre-existing conditions, will require insurers to come up with more creative and effective means to offset the cost. Let’s hope the UnitedHealth-YMCA partnership model is a harbinger of thigns to come.