The Cost of Access to Diabetes Technologies
For people with diabetes having and using technology tools can often be the difference between managing diabetes care well and suffering from unnecessary side effects, diabetes complications like amputations and kidney failure and emergency room visits.
Cost is a big factor in technology access. Among other things:
- About 31% of diabetes patients reported that they did not self-monitor glucose levels because blood glucose monitoring test strips were too expensive, and 47% reported that they did not self-monitor glucose levels because testing was not convenient.
- According to an American Diabetes Association® (ADA) survey taken of 2,595 people with diabetes:
- 1 in 5 people with diabetes say they’ve foregone or put off getting a pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM). For half of them, it was due to financial strain.
- 15% of people with diabetes who rely on diabetes management technologies like pumps or CGMs have delayed refilling needed supplies during the pandemic. For 70% of them, it was due to financial strain.
For all people living with diabetes, CGMs provide significant, potentially life-changing benefits for diabetes management and in turn for avoidance or delay of serious co-morbidities, hospitalizations and even death. An ADA study found that for many, CGMs are financially out of reach.
The ADA released a new study looking at pharmacy and medical benefit claims for CGMs across commercial insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid and data on age, race, geography, and diabetes prevalence. The findings show people of lower income and older people of color who live in states with the highest rates of diabetes prevalence and mortality are the least likely to get access to a CGM. ADA is quite concerned about these findings, given the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on this population and the importance of tools like CGMs in diabetes management.