people who are overweight or obese may get screened for
diabetes under new guidelines released by a panel of
prevention experts earlier this month. Those whose blood sugar
is higher than normal now can be referred to nutrition and
exercise counseling without paying anything out of pocket for
and overweight have been risk factors all along for
diabetes," says Dr. Wanda Filer, president of the
American Academy of Family Physicians. "But we haven’t
had guidelines that actually said, ‘Screen those folks.’"
the health law, insurers have to cover preventive services
that receive a grade of A or B from the U.S. Preventive
Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts, without
guidelines update the task force’s 2008 recommendation,
which advised screening asymptomatic adults if they had high
blood pressure. After reviewing the evidence on which this
recommendation was based and incorporating findings from new
studies, the task force concluded that there is a moderate
benefit in screening a broader pool of people for abnormal
blood sugar levels, including adults between the ages of 40
and 70 who are overweight or obese. The task force also
concluded that the evidence is now sufficient to recommend
lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise counseling
as a way to prevent or delay the development of diabetes.
past, Filer says, if a 55-year-old patient was overweight and
she wanted to order a blood glucose screening test, some
insurers balked at covering the test. She would sometimes have
to justify it by stating that the patient was complaining of
fatigue, for example.
insurers must cover the screening tests as well as counseling
at the primary care practice office or off site at a hospital
or elsewhere in the community.
plans were generally supportive of this recommendation,
although there are concerns about the lack of direct evidence
that measuring blood glucose leads to improved health
outcomes," said Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for America’s
Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.