On April 1, the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program officially rolled out. While the program is promising, it encountered a few problems at the start, according to Judith Graham of Kaiser Health News.
What is the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program?
The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program takes place over 12 months and educates participants on how to stay healthy and avoid developing diabetes. The goal is for people in the program to lose at least 5% body weight and to get 150 minutes of physical activity weekly.
What problems is it facing?
Community organizations such as the YMCA are meant to run the program, and as of now there’s no general phone number or website to see where the program is available.
Heather Hodge of the YMCA said, “We’re still digging through Medicare’s rules and regulations and trying to make sure we understand the implications.” While the fact that Medicare is covering such a program is monumental and will surely change lives, it will likely take some time to get up and running in various locations. Once more programs are approved, they will be listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) online.
How does Medicare Advantage fit in?
Medicare Advantage plans are now also required to offer the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program to their members. But since there aren’t many sites available yet, Medicare Advantage programs aren’t reaching out about the program just yet.
A major study in 2002 showed that participants in a similar program reduced their chances of developing diabetes by 58% compared to the placebo group. What’s more, healthy people without diabetes save Medicare thousands, since diabetes accounts for $1 in every $3 spent by Medicare, according to The American Journal of Managed Care.
In the program, Medicare pays up to $670 per participant for a two-year period, as long as the program meets standards of attendance and weight loss. The program is also looking into creating a virtual version that participants can take part in online, but as of now an online DPP does not exist.
How to participate
If you are interested in participating in the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program, contact your local Area Agency on Aging, local health department, or senior center and tell them you would like to take part in the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program.
You could have prediabetes and not know it. But don’t worry; prediabetes can be reversed. To see if you have prediabetes, visit www.doihaveprediabetes.org. See a doctor if you are at risk.