Circumnavigating Costly Insurance Premiums With Affordable Care For Diabetes Patients – Waitlist Now Open
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: GluCare.Health, a hybrid digital therapeutics (“DTx”) company, has announced the launch of a value-based, insurance-free monthly subscription model for the management of diabetes in the United Arab Emirates.
A recent survey by GluCare.Health found that coverage for diabetic patients remains challenging due to the extremely high cost of purchasing insurance. Many insurance companies add up to 500% additional premiums for those declaring themselves as Type 1 or 2 diabetic, resulting in premiums of up to AED100,000 per annum in some cases. The survey has also found that despite having medical insurance, many patients are routinely denied access to medical services and products required as part of their diabetes care. According to the survey, 42% of respondents value the coverage of specialty medical devices such as CGMs and insulin pumps above all else when searching for a health insurance provider.
It is important to note that according to the Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health, 75% of all people with diabetes in the UAE are classified as poorly controlled, with healthcare facility visits usually exceeding the quarterly visit guidelines. The over-utilization of diabetes services is generally due to patients being dissatisfied with their existing clinical care and looking for alternatives due to the episodic, primarily therapeutic diabetes management practised by most healthcare providers. This over-utilization can lead to insurance providers denying specific services, a frustration echoed by 70% of respondents.
As a result, GluCare.Health is launching the world’s first value-based subscription model for the management of diabetes by offering three (mostly) overlapping patient pools access to hyper-personalized care – diabetics whose insurance coverage remains inadequate; diabetics who cannot afford optimal coverage for their condition; and diabetics who are not experiencing any improvement in their condition with their current healthcare providers.
“We are launching this offering as there is an utter misalignment between patient needs, insurance policies and healthcare providers. Insurance companies are more concerned about medical expenses, not a patient’s improvement. In addition, health insurance premiums are increasing, regardless of whether patients get better. Looking at the healthcare provider’s landscape, under the existing fee-for-service reimbursement model of care, providers will only do what they will be paid for, not what is needed to optimize outcomes. Finally, patients are not being rewarded for better health, so it is no wonder we are failing in the battle against diabetes,” said Dr. Ihsan Almarzooqi, Co-founder and Managing Director.
How does it work? The subscription allows patients unlimited access to GluCare.Health’s diabetes-related services, both physical and virtual. Physical services include all required physician consultations, laboratory tests and imaging. Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and wearables are also included, allowing GluCare.Health to practise its unique machine-assisted continuous model of care. Most insurance companies would not usually cover these devices or services. In addition, all patients will have access to GluCare.Health’s continuous diabetes management platform, meaning they have constant access to their entire care team without needing to visit the facility physically.
According to the GluCare.Health survey, 63% of diabetics surveyed would consider, with a high probability, an insurance-free, monthly subscription health product that simplifies their chronic disease management.
“Diabetes is a 24/7 condition and does not stop when patients leave our facility. At GluCare.Health, using wearable and connected technology, with the right technological platform, we can understand what happens to patients between doctor visits and use that information to support them and empower both the patient and clinical team,” said Ali Hashemi, Co-Founder and Chairman.
Monthly subscription costs will be priced with affordability in mind and will be cheaper than the cost of a single consultation at most private healthcare facilities.
GluCare.Health, which became the first provider globally to be accredited by the International Consortium of Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) in July, will also practice an outcome-based approach, meaning savings will be passed on to patients, with reductions in the future monthly subscription costs. This is the second time value-based healthcare – rewarding providers or patients when clinical outcomes are achieved – will be practised in the MENA region after GluCare.Health and Novo Nordisk UAE signed a strategic partnership focusing on value-based approaches to obesity management in May 2022.
“In the 18 months we have been managing patients, we have proven that our model of care works. We know that patients managed by us are better engaged and are provided with all the necessary tools to engender sustainable behaviour change. We see vastly better patient outcomes under our platform than in traditional care, and on average, patients under our care are well-controlled in as little as 90 days with fewer medications. A prime example of this being 94% of our Type 2 diabetic patients who were on insulin are no longer using this medication,” added Dr. Almarzooqi.
“Our technology offers a more human-centric approach to diabetes care, which works extremely well, as highlighted by our outcomes. When glucose data is continuously streamed back to the care team and correlated against other continuous clinical and physiological data, it can be effectively used by the care team, allowing for trends to be seen and insights to be actioned in near real-time,” added Ali Hashemi.
During the past 18 months, GluCare.Health has demonstrated that its model of care is superior to traditional care. The health-tech startup has consistently managed to reduce HbA1c by over 2% points with additional metabolic-related improvements, such as a 39% reduction in cardiovascular risk, 4.5% reduction in weight, 17% reduction in harmful cholesterol, 20% reduction in uric acid and a 6.2% reduction in inflammation – all in just 90 days. GluCare.Health’s outcomes exceed existing published data in the UAE: data from Imperial College Diabetes Center in Abu Dhabi reports a 0.9% reduction in HbA1c over ten years, with the average patient population still classified as poorly controlled diabetic. “It is clear that existing models of care are falling short of patients’ expectations and are performing poorly – be it within the UAE or abroad,” continued Dr. Almarzooqi.
The first hybrid Digital Therapeutics (DTx)+Human vertically integrated diabetes platform of its kind, GluCare.Health is reinventing metabolic care and transforming lives. Conceptualized in the UAE and opening the doors to its state-of-the-art 10,000 sq foot Dubai clinic in September 2020, it is the world’s first healthcare provider to empower both clinicians and patients through Remote Continuous Data Monitoring as part of its standard model of care, an innovative and highly personalized ‘continuous healthcare’ approach that provides a comprehensive and real-time view of patients. As part of its unique model, GluCare.Health is also an early adopter of – and the region’s first clinic to use – Digital Therapeutics (DTx), combining it with wearable and smart technology, data analytics, unique in-clinic workflows, and a caring and connected expert care team. Applying technology as a humanizing force, GluCare.Health’s team partners with patients and their families, giving them the tools, knowledge, and continuous support to live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.