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

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.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)