Shortcomings in public and private insurance coverage of diabetes self-management education and support

Popul Health Manag. 2012 Jun;15(3):144-8. doi: 10.1089/pop.2011.0042. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


The objective of this study is to present preliminary data to characterize public and private insurance coverage for diabetes self-management education (DSM Education) and diabetes self-management support (DSM Support). Representatives from Medicaid and 2 private insurance providers in 10 states provided coverage information for their insurance plans. Two states (the most populous state from the East and West coasts) were sampled purposively and 8 additional states from 4 geographic regions (northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest) were sampled at random. Representatives from each private insurer described both a premium and basic coverage plan. Thus, 10 Medicaid programs and 40 private insurance plans were represented. Information about Medicare coverage was accessed from publicly available documents. Restricted by physician certification of patient eligibility, Medicare coverage included 10 hours of DSM Education plus 3 hours of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) within a continuous 12-month period, and 4 hours of follow-up (2 hours DSM Education and 2 hours MNT) for each subsequent year. Only 22 of 40 sampled private insurance and 5 of 10 Medicaid plans covered DSM Education, which ranged from 7 to 20 hours of education per year. Medicaid and private plans often limited the amount of DSM Education or required patients to obtain a physician certification of eligibility. Other than on-demand access features, coverage of DSM Support was minimal. Public and private insurance coverage of DSM Education was neither widespread nor uniform, while coverage of DSM Support was scarce.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control*
  • Directive Counseling / economics*
  • Directive Counseling / methods
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / economics*
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement / statistics & numerical data
  • Medicaid / economics
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Education as Topic / economics*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Public Health
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Care / economics*
  • Self Care / methods
  • Social Support
  • United States