Health & Environment

Monthly subscription model for diabetics set to launch in UAE

GluCare.Health is launching its value-based, insurance-free monthly subscription model for the management of diabetes in the UAE next month, coinciding with National Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day on November 14.
A recent survey by GluCare.Health, a hybrid digital therapeutics (DTx) company, 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 speciality 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, it said.  
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-personalised 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 optimise 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. 
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, it said. 
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, it said.
“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, Co-Founder and Chairman.- TradeArabia News Service