IBJNews

Indy anti-diabetes experiment takes off

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
On The Beat Industry News In Brief

UnitedHealthcare believes a program tested in the Indianapolis area will help it save money on claims.

The Minnesota-based health insurance giant is rolling out the program to cities across the country this month after trying it out at YMCA of Central Indiana locations and relying on  Indiana University to crunch numbers to ensure the program got results.

UnitedHealthcare, which claims the second-largest share of the market in central Indiana, pays the YMCA directly if it successfully helps patients lose weight; Walgreens also is paid for its pharmacists' spending time reviewing patient prescriptions and compliance.

In the pilot, UnitedHealthcare paid for patients determined to be pre-diabetic to join a 16-week program at the YMCA. The YMCA taught the participants how to count calories and fat grams, to set daily ceilings on each, and to record everything they eat to make sure they don’t exceed their daily limits.

Beyond that, the YMCA let participants eat whatever they want. But they also got them to use the exercise equipment at YMCA facilities and coached them on how to handle stress without resorting to eating and how to maintain their diet discipline even when schedules and social situations work against it.

“We’ve learned skills that I’m going to use for the rest of my life,” said Peggy Brown, 58, who with her husband Robert is in the 15th week of her program at the YMCA in Greenwood. He has lost 23 pounds and she has lost 29 pounds, which has helped drop their blood sugar levels so they are no longer “pre-diabetic.”

The Browns and others like them helped the YMCA participants lose, on average, 6 percent of their body weight after six months, compared with only 2 percent lost by similar patients trying other diet and exercise programs, according to IU’s research.

Those proven results make Dan Krajnovich, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Indiana subsidiary, confident that employers will want to join the program. He said it would certainly improve UnitedHealthcare’s competitiveness among employers in Indiana.

“No question about it,” he said. “We’re actually offering this program to non-UnitedHealthcare customers as well,” which means employers can pay to have their employees participate, even if they do not choose UnitedHealthcare to provide their health benefits.

Krajnovich said the key difference about this program, compared with previous wellness efforts, is the way UnitedHealthcare has structured its payments to the YMCA. The organization receives no money unless a patient completes the program. It can then receive extra money if a patient loses at least 6 percent of his or her weight and another bonus on top of that if a patient loses 9 percent of his or her weight.

Peggy Brown and her husband had lost 7 percent of their body weight by week 11 of their program and have lost even more since.

“I don’t want to go back,” she said. “I’ve got energy. I’m able to keep up with my grandkids. We can do things, and can go places. And we’re having fun.”

In addition to Indianapolis, UnitedHealthcare, YMCA and Walgreens are launching their anti-diabetes program in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, and Dayton, Ohio.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

ADVERTISEMENT