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After years of research, testing, and clinical trials, the FDA finally approved the artificial pancreas in September 2016. While this device may bring to mind a device that takes the place of an individual's pancreas, it is actually a closed loop system that links the user's artificial pancreas to their continuous glucose monitor (CGM). This automated insulin delivery device would not only afford users a greater degree of freedom, it would offer more accurate, minute-by-minute, blood glucose management.
Currently, most insurance companies cover the cost of insulin pumps. However, this is not necessarily the case for CGMs. Medicare, for instance, does not cover this technology, making these devices an out-of-pocket expense. Given this, it remains unclear whether the artificial pancreas will be covered by insurance and Medicare.
This means that after years of waiting for a more graceful solution to glucose monitoring and insulin delivery, this breakthrough technology could remain out of reach for those in need.
In addition to the benefits to the individual patient, the health care system would actually see significant savings by choosing to cover this technology. The elegance of the artificial pancreas' management would eliminate many of the common mistakes that come from manual monitoring and insulin administration and lead to diabetes-related complications. According to one study, published on healthaffairs.org, offering coverage of the artificial pancreas early in life could offer a $937 million in Medicare savings after 25 years.
We must ensure that this life-saving technology is available to anyone who needs it.
Sign the petition below to urge the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as insurance providers, to cover artificial pancreas technology.
To the Us Department of Health and Human Services and the CEOs of WellPoint Insurance, CIGNA, Aetna, Humana, and United Healthcare:
I am writing to urge you to cover the recently-approved artificial pancreas technology.
More than 29 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, the economic cost of diabetes is $245 billion. This number reflects direct medical costs (i.e. supplies and medical services) as well as money lost from reduced productivity. Of those direct medical costs, 18% were the result of treating diabetes-related complications.
The artificial pancreas could drastically reduce these costs by decreasing the number of complications. According to one study, published on healthaffairs.org, offering coverage of the artificial pancreas early in life could offer a $937 million in Medicare savings after 25 years.
Offering patients a way to reduce these painful and often debilitating complications would greatly improve their quality of life. Further, the automated insulin delivery device would afford users a degree of freedom not offered by manual monitoring and administration of insulin.
People with diabetes have been waiting for this technology for years. Please ensure this life-changing technology is accessible by offering coverage of the artificial pancreas.