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Eligible Medicare Beneficiaries

The federal government is hoping to build upon the successes of their pilot diabetes prevention program, as they are moving forward with their plan to expand the prevention program model to all Medicare beneficiaries. The Department of Health and Human Services recently revealed that they are planning to expand the program, as it made impressive results in Affordable Care Act funded demonstration that involved YMCA.

Counselors helped coach individuals who were at high risk for developing type-2 diabetes to eat healthy and improve their physical activity. The data shows that the efforts of the counselors have helped to make a five percent reduction in weight among the people who participated and saved an estimated 2,650 dollars per person for Medicare. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials noted in a blog post that the money is “more than enough to cover the cost of the program.”

Evaluating the results of the model, a newly released final rule from CMS will expand the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program model to all the Medicare beneficiaries starting from 2018. “We know that fewer people with diabetes saves patients and Medicare money because they use fewer expensive prescription drugs and have fewer hospital visits,” the post from CMS said. CMS also said that preventing diabetes would prevent the patients from the need to deal with a debilitating disease.

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Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program

The final rule from CMS follows a pilot model with YMCA USA using 11.8 million dollars as funding under the Affordable Care Act. Eligible Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in YMCA and are at high risk for diabetes can take part in the lifestyle-coaching program that is focused on improving the diet and physical activity. Participants in the program lost about five percent of their weight and more than eighty percent of the participants attended about four weekly sessions of the program.

“”This program has been shown to reduce healthcare costs and help prevent diabetes,” Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “Medicare, employers and private insurers can use [the model] to help 86 million Americans live healthier.”