American Diabetes Association Applauds U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for New Gestational Diabetes Screening Coverage

Alexandria,
August 1, 2011

The American Diabetes Association applauds the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for announcing new guidelines, developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, that will allow all women to be screened for gestational diabetes without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.

The guidelines require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services including screening for gestational diabetes in all pregnant women between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation, and screening for type 2 diabetes at the first prenatal visit for women identified to be at high risk for diabetes. Under the Affordable Care Act, new health plans will need to include these preventative services for women with plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012.

“By providing a gestational diabetes screening for all women who are pregnant, we are lessening the tremendous toll diabetes inflicts on American women, and taking a step towards stopping diabetes,” said Sue Kirkman, MD, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Community Information, American Diabetes Association. “This historic move will lead to improved health for millions of American women and their children by ensuring they are screened and receive proper early treatment for gestational diabetes.”

Gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy that usually goes away after delivery, leads to a number of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as large babies, neonatal hypoglycemia and preeclampsia.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, under new diagnostic criteria, 18 percent of all pregnancies are estimated to be affected by gestational diabetes.

Women with a history of gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with approximately 50 percent developing type 2 diabetes within the next decade. Children with exposure to gestational diabetes in utero are at increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

“Nearly 26 million Americans are living with diabetes and another 79 million have prediabetes, which places them at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In 2007 alone, the costs associated with diabetes, including undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes, accounted for $218 billion,” said Kirkman. “Primary and secondary prevention of diabetes are fundamental in reducing the devastating physical, emotional and financial toll diabetes is taking on the nation.”

Diabetes impacts females of all ages in America and disproportionately impacts minority women, occurring more frequently among Asian American, Latina, American Indian and African American women. In 2010, 12.6 million American women, 11 percent of adult women, had diabetes, with one quarter of those women unaware they had the disease. People with diabetes face the potential for devastating long term complications, including stroke, heart disease, blindness, amputation and kidney failure.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.