Assemblyman Bob Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) has announced that legislation which expands diabetes insurance coverage has passed both houses of the Legislature. The legislation is strongly supported by the American Diabetes Association.
The legislation will require coverage for special equipment for persons who are considered visually impaired to help them better control their disease. Under current law only those legally blind are eligible for this benefit.
“Paying for preventive care, equipment, and supplies that help a diabetic control their disease not only makes common sense, it also makes good financial sense,” said Sweeney.
The legislation also expands existing New York State insurance law to guarantee coverage for diabetes supplies, equipment and education for New York civil servants. This coverage has existed for the private sector employees since Sweeney-sponsored legislation became law in 1993.
The direct and indirect economic cost of diabetes in New York for the year 1990 was estimated to be $2 billion. Nationwide, a recent study estimated that the direct costs of hospitalization, outpatient, and convalescent care related to diabetes were $45 billion.
Studies carried out over the past twenty years, both in this country and abroad, have proven that through the use of self-management education and blood glucose monitoring, and subsequent "tight control" of blood glucose levels, people with diabetes are likely to achieve significant reductions in hospitalizations and the delay or avoidance of the serious complications of diabetes.
Each year, approximately 58,000 New Yorkers are newly diagnosed with diabetes and will need access to appropriate education and care for their disease. Complications from diabetes include serious eye disease, often eventually resulting in blindness, cardiovascular disease, stroke, amputation of extremities, as well as a number of other serious complications that can result in extensive healthcare costs. Evidence indicates that controlling blood glucose prevents or delays the onset of serious complications and in turn reduces the final burden of the disease.
“Providing guaranteed insurance coverage for education, supplies and equipment, including blood glucose monitors that can be readily used by those with visual impairments is essential. It is good policy and cost efficient. Once the diagnosis of diabetes is made, controlling and monitoring the disease is the most cost effective means of maintaining good health,” said Assemblyman Sweeney.