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October 15, 2010

NCSL Expands Research on Diabetes Coverage in the States

DENVER – The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) announced today that it would expand research on state legislative activity on diabetes. This research will build upon NCSL’s work over the past decade tracking state legislation and regulations requiring insurers to cover various medications, supplies and services to manage diabetes.

Approximately 23.6 million Americans, or 7.8 percent of the population, live with diabetes today. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that about one in four U.S. adults age 20 or older has pre-diabetes, which is often a precursor to the disease.

As of mid-2010, 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring some health insurance coverage for diabetes treatment. Most states also have programs to improve health care services for preventing, detecting and treating diabetes and its related complications.

"Each state is dealing with the issues of diabetes on some level," said Georgia Senator Don Balfour, NCSL’s past president and co-sponsor of Georgia's Diabetes and Health Improvement Act. "This is such an important issue for state legislatures as they continue to explore policy options to deal with this growing problem. NCSL’s work on diabetes is helping our lawmakers and can also help medical professionals and patients understand how each state plays a role."

NCSL will issue a report by the end of 2010 summarizing provisions in the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act that focus upon diabetes treatment, prevention, research and reporting. NCSL will also break down how these provisions will affect states, in time for use in 2011 legislative sessions, most of which start in January.  Research also will include state and federal funding for diabetes prevention and treatment activities and appropriations provided in state and federal budgets for 2010-2011.

NCSL's previous publication, Diabetes Health Coverage: State Laws and Programs is available online and has become a trusted resource for policymakers, health providers and consumers. It includes a 50-state chart that highlights laws mandating diabetes coverage, whether for health care or testing supplies. This report also answers questions related to state-enacted health insurance laws and provides an overview of many state programs aimed at supporting the diabetes community. New material will be available at the end of 2010.

Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Although there is no cure for diabetes, effective treatments exist that allow most patients to live relatively normal lives. With proper education in self-management of diabetes, and with appropriate supplies and equipment for administering medication and monitoring blood glucose levels, most people with diabetes can treat and manage their disease with minimal health professional supervision.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

Funding for NCSL’s diabetes focused research efforts is provided with support from Novo Nordisk Inc., a company committed to changing the way diabetes is treated.