INDIANAPOLIS - A diabetes prevention program developed in Central Indiana is now the first preventative care program made eligible for Medicare expansion.
The model for the The Diabetes Prevention Program was developed by Dr. David Marrero, a researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine, who says its new eligibility for Medicare expansion is a win he’s been waiting for.
"We finally achieved what we set out to do more than thirteen years ago which was to create a policy change in how health care treats diabetes prevention," Marrero said.
Marrero and a colleague had the idea to test the program at YMCA’s in Fishers and Indianapolis back in 2008. A few years later, a study began at seventeen Y’s across the country with $11.8 million in funding from the Affordable Care Act. It's now proven its cost effectiveness, spurring federal health officials to certify it for Medicare expansion.
The program includes weekly group sessions about lifestyle and behavior changes that promote healthy eating and exercise. It’s resulted in an average five percent body weight loss and an estimated savings of $2,650 for each enrollee.
YMCA of Greater Indianapolis Associate Director of Health Partnership Programs, Chelsy Winters said the potential move under the Medicare umbrella will increase the program's reach.
"What it likely will mean, that for Medicare beneficiaries who are pre-diabetic, a portion or all of this program will be covered as a benefit under their insurance coverage," Winters said.
About 89 million Americans are pre-diabetic but only 10 percent are aware of their condition.