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How a dual-eligible health plan (D-SNP) can help people with diabetes

Posted: July 30, 2021

Last Updated Date: July 30, 2021

5 ways dual-eligible health plans can help people with diabetes

Diabetes is a serious, long-lasting disease. It takes good diabetes care management to keep diabetes in check. There’s no cure for diabetes. But people with diabetes can still live long and happy lives. The key is to stay on top of diabetes preventive care and keeping blood sugar levels low. Having the right health plan can help too. 

Dual-eligible health plans (also called Dual Special Needs Plans or D-SNPs) are a type of Medicare Advantage plan for people who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. That’s what the term “dual-eligible” means. This article highlights 5 ways a dual health plan can help people with diabetes better manage their diabetes care.

1. Dual health plans can help cover the cost of insulin and other diabetes medicines

Dual health plans can help pay for insulin, insulin pens, syringes, needles and other diabetes supplies. Dual health plans also cover prescription drugs to help with diabetes. Some diabetes medicines lower blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Other diabetes-related medicines help lower blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.  

2. Dual health plans can also help with diabetes supplies

Besides insulin, it takes testing strips and all sorts of other medical supplies to manage diabetes effectively. For people with diabetes, the cost of diabetic supplies can add up fast. But again, this is another area that a dual-eligible health plan may help. 

Credits to buy OTC health products is one of the extra benefits included with [most] UnitedHealthcare dual health plans.* OTC credits can be used to buy thousands of over-the-counter health-related items at retail stores. Whether it’s gauze, alcohol swabs, a blood pressure monitor or other supplies to help with diabetes care, you can buy them using credits instead of paying out of your own pocket. And if you need things like aspirin, vitamins, toothpaste, denture supplies or bandages, you could use OTC credits to buy those items as well. 

Eating healthy foods can help quickly reduce A1C blood sugar levels.

3. Dual health plans may offer credits to buy healthy food

New in 2021, UnitedHealthcare introduced the healthy food benefit for dual health plans.* This benefit gives members credits to buy healthy food at no cost. Healthy food credits can be used to buy a wide range of groceries, including fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, eggs and dairy products and many other healthy food items.

Healthy eating is a critical part of good diabetes care management. The diabetes A1C test tracks diabetes blood sugar levels over a 2- 3-month time. Foods that are high in carbohydrates (carbs), like pasta, bread and cereal can raise blood sugar. But eating healthy foods can help quickly lower A1C blood sugar levels. Eat lots of fruits, non-starchy vegetables, whole-grain and high-fiber foods. Limit packaged, processed and take-out foods that can be high in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. Be careful with serving size too. Eating less could be one of the best ways to manage diabetes and reduce blood sugar levels 

4. Dual health plans can help with exercise

Besides better diet and nutrition, exercise is one of the most important lifestyle changes that can help lower A1C blood sugar levels. And there are many more health benefits that come with being physically active. That’s why many UnitedHealthcare dual health plans include the Renew Active® fitness program.* This benefit gives members a free standard membership at gyms and fitness centers, plus access to group classes and online brain exercises. 

5. Dual health plans may offer care coordination to help with diabetes management

Living with diabetes or other long-term illnesses can be hard. And people with Medicaid and Medicare tend to have quite a lot of health care needs. With a UnitedHealthcare Dual Special Needs Plan, you could get a coordinated care experience to help manage your diabetes care plan as well as any other health issues you may have.

Members of UnitedHealthcare dual health plans have a Navigator to help them find their way in the health care system. Your Navigator is a single point of contact who’ll get to know you and your specific health challenges. Say you had a question about diabetes standards of care or wanted extra support like diabetes or nutrition counseling. You could call your Navigator to get answers and find available programs. Your Navigator will work with you, your family and your caregivers to make sure your care needs are met.  

*NOTE: Benefits vary by plan and service area. Limitations and exclusions apply.  

See UnitedHealthcare plans in your area.

Please note that the specific benefits dual health plans include can change depending on where you live. Search by your ZIP code to find the right plan to meet your health care needs. 

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