The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created a new reality for many Americans: better access to diabetes prevention services. Previously, a large number of people without health insurance lacked access to preventive care. While these individuals still had access to health care, their health care use and expenditures were lower than those covered by Marketplace insurance. This new reality is likely to increase the amount of care individuals with diabetes receive and lead to better access to effective treatment.
A new study examines the effect of ACA reform on access to diabetes diagnosis and treatment. The authors find that ACA has improved access to diabetes care in many ways. Among these is an increase in diabetes diagnosis and management services. The study found that more people with diabetes were insured than they were before, which results in increased awareness and improved patient care. Moreover, the study found that there was a decline in diabetes diagnoses and therapies among uninsured patients.
The costs of diabetes care are a huge problem for Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Managing diabetes is a complex process requiring frequent health care appointments and constant monitoring of blood sugar levels. These costs total about $245 billion in 2012, according to research. Although some people with diabetes have access to health care through private or public insurance programs, this still leaves a significant number of people without access to diabetes care. This often leads to suboptimal care, higher health care expenditures, and increased diabetes complications.
Another positive impact of the Affordable Care Act is that more people have health insurance. The new law will provide coverage to millions of people who were previously uninsured. Those with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty line will gain Medicaid coverage. As of January 24, 2015, 28 states have done this. In states that have not yet expanded Medicaid coverage, people can purchase private health insurance plans in health insurance “marketplaces” and get subsidized premiums. The goal is to have 60% of Americans covered by 2019.
The U.S. ranks last in the affordability domain, with a score lower than Switzerland’s. Other countries in the survey report that their residents face fewer issues with medical bills and insurance denials than Americans. Furthermore, countries with the highest timeliness of care have more providers offering same-day care and after-hours care. So, there’s still work to do, but the future looks bright for diabetes prevention.