An analysis of Kentucky's state-employee health insurance plan, which provides free or reduced-cost diabetic medications and supplies, found this service was helping its members better manage their condition and make better health decisions.
“Many times the cost of medical and pharmacy treatment prohibits members from receiving care,"Jenny Goins, commissioner of the Department of Employee Insurance, said in a news release.
The study found that participants in the Diabetes Value Benefit program showed better adherence to their medications and a 3.5 percent decrease in other prescription drug use. Emergency-room visits were down 10.3 percent, doctor-office visits decreased 3.1 percent and hospital admissions dropped 6.5 percent since 2015.
The DVB program allows members with a diabetes diagnosis to receive maintenance prescriptions and supplies, such as diabetic strips, free or at a reduced copay or coinsurance, with no deductible. KEHP also provides coverage for the Diabetes Self-Management Education program and pays 100 percent of the cost of the Diabetes Prevention Program for those with pre-diabetes.
Chris Biddle, a KEHP member who's been diagnosed with diabetes and participates in the DVB program, said, ""My numbers have improved so much that I ceased taking some of my other cardiac medications and my diabetes medications have been cut in half -- a big savings out of my pocket! I'm now going to the doctor about half as much as I did before."
The Kentucky Employees' Health Plan covers more than 260,000 state employees, retirees and others, and spends more than one million dollars in diabetes claims each year, says the release. More than 23,000 KEHP members were diagnosed with diabetes in 2016, down from 25,000 members in 2015, according to the release.
Kentucky ranks 12th in the nation for diabetes. It’s the seventh leading cause of death by disease in the state.
Kentuckians who are not covered by the KEHP can get information about diabetes resources by visiting the Kentucky Diabetes Resources Directory .