Type 1 diabetes and insurance “churn”


– In early adulthood, many people go through job transitions between the ages of 18 and 50, people have about a dozen jobs. And there’s a potential then, for people not to be
covered in health insurance between those jobs. If you have a chronic condition, especially one that requires
a lot of medical care, then you might begin to have some problems in those gaps between the coverage. We found that patients
with type 1 diabetes often had a gap in insurance,
one in four patients, over an average of about
three years of coverage. And after a gap in insurance, the long-term average for
the blood glucose levels were significantly higher and this means that their glucose levels
were more out of control and it increases their risk of getting complications down the line. We found that people with type 1 diabetes had a five-fold increase
in hospitalizations and emergency room visits, after they had a gap in health insurance than prior to that gap. This was an enormous
increase in hospitalizations. And has some serious implications
for their well-being. Type 1 diabetes is very costly. You really need the medical
supplies right away. If a person with type 1
diabetes does not have insulin, even for 24 hours, they will notice it. Within about a week, for sure, they would have likely died. Historically, younger adults
have gotten their healthcare through their employment. That percentage is going down. The Affordable Care Act provided
additional opportunities to get insurance and
if you are low income, there are different opportunities where you can get Medicaid coverage, but often there’s a waiting period and people with type
1 diabetes can’t wait. They need insulin right away. So we have to develop the system so that people who have
these chronic conditions in early adulthood are covered in some way or are able to obtain
coverage in some way.

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