Customized Health Plans Linked to Better Diabetes Control

Individuals with health plans tailored to meet specific needs – like diabetes care – are more likely to have better medication adherence and control over their health, according to new research.

The study assessed the effectiveness of the Diabetes Health Plan, an option that has been available to many public and private employers since 2009 and requires that participants be "actively involved" in their own care.

Better diabetes-care habits can reduce both individual and employer costs in the long run, which has prompted more recent research into improving medical care for diabetics.

"Linking the incentive of decreased cost-sharing to a requirement that those who enroll demonstrate engagement in their own health care is an intriguing option for employers and health plans to consider," said lead author O. Kenrik Duru, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Cheaper medications, fewer hospitalizations

Benefits of the Diabetes Health Plan include access to low-cost resources for managing diabetes and cost-shared medications and office visits.

Researchers found that the plan was linked to fewer hospitalizations and almost a 5 percent improvement in medication adherence among patients – which equals about a 1 percent reduction in health care costs, Duru said.

While customized health plans may be appealing, how individuals implement their own care and take advantage of benefits may be the most important factor to consider.

"The ultimate benefit of the Diabetes Health Plan will depend greatly on the baseline health status of the employees with diabetes, and how they use health care," Duru concluded.

Source: EurekAlert!

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