4 tips to help employees manage type 2 diabetes
Investing in strategies designed to help employees manage type 2 diabetes can pay off.
About 1 in 10 Americans live with diabetes across the U.S., with some states faring worse than others.1 For instance, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia have some of the highest rates of diabetes diagnoses.2 Millions more have prediabetes,3 putting them at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“For people with type 2 diabetes, the disease can dramatically affect how people feel each day and how they show up for their family and employer,” says Dr. Donna O’Shea, chief medical officer of population health for UnitedHealthcare. “Not only that, type 2 diabetes is associated with a higher risk of various health issues, including blindness, stroke or heart attack.”
In addition to impacting quality of life, type 2 diabetes can contribute to higher health care costs for employees and employers. One claims analysis showed up to 19% of a self-insured employer’s health care costs4 are spent on employees with type 2 diabetes. Employers that help and encourage their employees to better manage their diabetes may see better health outcomes, as well as lower costs and increased productivity.5
That’s why health plans like Level2® from UnitedHealthcare can be an attractive option for employers.
Grounded in metabolic and behavioral science, Level2 is a condition-specific health plan that equips eligible participants with empowering tools that include a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and activity, plus support and clinical care to help encourage healthier lifestyle decisions, such as food choices, exercise and sleep patterns. For employers with eligible self-funded health plans, Level2 offers guaranteed total cost of care savings (compared to that year’s projected claims), while employees may qualify for $0 cost-share for their diabetes care by engaging with the solution.
“Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. It can also be more effectively managed through a combination of consistent lifestyle changes, helping achieve better health and avoiding costly complications. That can be good news for workers and their employers.”
4 steps employers can take to help prevent or more effectively manage type 2 diabetes among their workforce
1. Understand the impact of diabetes within an employer’s group population
Diabetes can have a major impact on an employee’s quality of life and risk for other health issues, but it also has an outsize effect on an employer’s group population in terms of cost and productivity. In fact, 1 out of every 4 health care dollars are spent on people living with type 2 diabetes.6 Plus, the total cost of medical care and lost productivity amounts to $327B — a number that is expected to grow to $622B by 2030.6
2. Invest in diabetes-specific programs or plan designs
Employers can support their employees living with type 2 diabetes by offering plans or programs like the Level2 Health Plan or the Level2 Specialty Care program. CGMs, which are offered at no additional cost through the Level2 Specialty Care program for Level2 Health Plan members, can give employees real-time insight into how diet, movement, stress and other factors may elevate their glucose (sugar) levels. This real-time information can help employees with type 2 diabetes, and their health care team, better track glucose levels and help prevent spikes.
3. Develop tailored communications and engagement plans around diabetes management
Employers can further support their employees by encouraging them to take a more active role in their health. Developing tailored communications and engagement plans, which include reminders about making smart food choices, staying active and keeping consistent with any monitoring and medicine, is one way they can keep diabetes management top of mind among employees. Learn more on uhc.com.
4. Offer health and well-being programs that promote healthier lifestyles
Since physical activity is critical for people with type 2 diabetes,7 employers may want to offer health and well-being programs that promote activity. With UnitedHealthcare Rewards, for instance, employees in eligible plans can earn up to $1,000 in rewards for different activities, such as walking 5,000 steps a day. With diabetes, even a 15-minute walk after a meal may help lower blood glucose spikes as the glucose moves from the blood to muscle cells to burn as energy.8
For more information, contact your UnitedHealthcare representative.