Diabetics have to spend hundreds of dollars each month for the drugs they require. If they try to skip their medications, the results can be disastrous. Trying to slow the growing health care costs of diabetes, the University of Michigan said today it will provide most diabetes medicines free to insured employees and their families who need the drugs.
Failure to control blood sugar and blood pressure can lead to kidney failure, which often requires a transplant or dialysis. Other complications can include heart, kidney and nerve disease, eye damage and limb amputation.
The program, a two-year experiment, will cover about 2,000 people and is an effort to fend off the worst complications of a disease that is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
Similar efforts are already under way elsewhere, including one started almost 10 years ago by employers in Asheville, N.C., where patient health has improved and diabetic-care costs have fallen.