UnitedHealthcare changes diabetes policy, sparking patient backlash

UnitedHealthcare, the health insurance unit of UnitedHealth Group, expanded an existing agreement with Medtronic that denotes the devicemaker's insulin pumps a preferred product for children with Type 1 diabetes, according to the Star Tribune.

UnitedHealthcare said the quality and cost of Medtronic's devices factored into its decision, which concerns pumps for children age 7 and older. However, some patient advocates have called the new policy — which effectively limits in-network options for the insulin pump from three to two — "an unacceptable step backward," diabetes nonprofit JDRF told the Star Tribune.

UnitedHealthcare spokesperson Stephen Shivinsky told the publication via email that "safety and helping individuals with diabetes avoid dangerous highs and lows in their sugar levels were the key factors in our decision."

For the full report, click here.

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