June 5, 2019 – By 2025, chronic diseases – the leading cause of death and disability in the United States – will affect an estimated 164 million Americans, or nearly half of the current U.S. population. To address this looming crisis, WellCare of Florida, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WCG) company, is helping its members better manage their chronic conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living.
In the state of Florida, approximately 13.1 million residents are living with at least one chronic condition. Further, more than 2.3 million residents are living with diabetes, and more than 5.8 million have prediabetes, meaning they are at risk for developing the disease.
“As we continue to see more and more Floridians living with chronic conditions like diabetes, it’s important to find new and innovative ways to educate those at risk and help them adopt a more healthy lifestyle, including exercise, a healthy diet and adhering to recommended medications,” said Elizabeth Miller, WellCare’s state president in Florida.
Helping Floridians Manage Their Chronic Conditions
To help members living with diabetes manage their condition and lead healthier lifestyles, WellCare offers the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) – a free, six-week workshop for older adults with diabetes and their caregivers. Through the program, participants learn about diabetes management through hands-on activities such as interactive visuals to understand blood sugar levels, activities to develop skills to decrease risks of complication, and tips to improve eating habits and increase physical activity.
“Being diagnosed with a chronic condition such as diabetes can be emotional – ranging from scared and frustrated to angry and helpless. By empowering our members to take control of their health and manage their conditions, we are helping them on their path to better health and overall well-being,” said Miller.
WellCare also offers specialized Medicare Advantage plans that are available to individuals with specific chronic conditions. These Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans (C-SNPs) plans offer unique benefits designed to address the specific health concerns individuals with chronic conditions face. WellCare C-SNPs are tailored to Medicare-eligible Floridians who have diabetes, heart failure or cardiovascular disorders like high blood pressure.
Research has shown Medicare beneficiaries living with diabetes and enrolled in chronic condition special needs plans experience better outcomes than they would in traditional programs. For example, reduced out-of-pocket costs for diabetes medicines, which is a benefit of WellCare’s C-SNPs, aims to improve adherence and ultimately lower overall healthcare costs by preventing diabetes complications.
“At WellCare, we focus on helping our members live better, healthier lives. We do this by making connections to critical programs and services that promote better health outcomes for our members,” said Miller.
For more information about WellCare’s C-SNPs, visit www.WellCareNow.com or call toll-free at 1-877-823-8267 (TTY: 711). Hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., local time, seven days a week.