Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Managed care insurers now have an economic reason to diagnose Celiac Disease

One of the barriers to awareness and diagnosis of Celiac disease has been the lack of enthusiasm on the part of health insurers. Now things have changed, and it is about time.

The Journal of Insurance Medicine has published a Celiac economic study by the Celiac Disease Center in Columbia that shows a decreasing cost after diagnosis.

"Researchers led by Dr. Peter Green, a professor of clinical medicine, said their study of a large managed-care database revealed cost reductions after diagnosis of celiac disease were attributable to decreasing trends in utilization of office visits, laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging and endoscopy procedures. "

This study is years overdue (see this two year old post including insurers), and it finally gives managed care insurers an economic reason to make sure all Celiac disease sufferers in their populations are diagnosed.

As a next step, I hope to see data-driven suggestions from these insurers soon. For example, it would be cheap and effective for them to send an email to segments of their population saying something like, "You have chronic iron-deficiency anemia. The differential diagnosis for that condition includes Celiac disease. Have you discussed it with your doctor?"