JDRF STATEMENT ON UNITED HEALTHCARE INSULIN PUMP AGREEMENT WITH MEDTRONIC
NEW YORK, February 4, 2019 – UnitedHealthcare’s new insulin pump agreement with Medtronic is an unacceptable step backward in giving children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) what they need to manage their disease and stay healthy. In a significant change, the nation’s largest insurer is no longer covering all brands of insulin pumps for children. JDRF strongly believes that every person with T1D, no matter their age, should have the freedom to decide which insulin pump is right for them — it should be a choice made by them and their doctors, not their insurance company. We urge UnitedHealthcare to reconsider this decision.
Insurance restrictions like these are bad for people with T1D, bad for children and their caregivers, and bad for our healthcare system. Through our Coverage2Control campaign, JDRF has been fighting for choice not only of insulin pumps, but also of insulins, test strips, continuous glucose monitors, and closed loop systems, to enable people with T1D to access the technologies that work best for them. Contracts between insurance companies and manufacturers shouldn’t limit choice for people with diabetes.
UnitedHealthcare, a business of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), announced on February 1, 2019, that it is extending Medtronic’s (NYSE:MDT) preferred position in insulin pumps, which is already in effect for adults, to children as young as age 7. We know that the use of diabetes technology like insulin pumps leads to better outcomes for T1D, and this is especially critical for children so that they grow into healthy adults. Insulin pumps are sophisticated medical devices that save lives — and different ones work best for different people. Just like diabetes isn’t one-size-fits-all, neither are pumps.
Moreover, when manufacturers enter into agreements like this with insurers they have little incentive to innovate and develop new treatments, making it even harder for people with diabetes to manage what is already a challenging disease. And when people with diabetes are unable to affordably get the pump that works best for them, they may decide to go without — which can lead to life-threatening and costly complications.
Coverage, affordability, and choice of therapies are key components of the JDRF mission to improve the lives of people with T1D today, until there is a cure. We will continue to demand more from the healthcare system to provide coverage that works for all people with T1D. Stay tuned to www.coverage2control.com for updates.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF.