Continuing its student-first focus, Wellfleet has added FreeStyle Libre Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) products to its more than 40 no-cost prescriptions under its Student Formulary.
When young adults managing diabetes enter college, it is often the first time they have had to manage it on their own. Away from their parents and their usual healthcare providers, managing diabetes can be challenging.
Below, we take a deeper dive into the presence of diabetes on college campuses and the latest addition coverage under Wellfleet Rx that now includes a $0 copay for students who receive prior authorization to use FreeStyle Libre CGM products for their diabetes management.
What is diabetes and how does it affect the college student population?
According to the CDC, roughly 34.1 million Americans age 18 or older have diabetes, with around 5 percent of college students having Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that impacts how the body’s insulin levels turn food into energy. When we eat, the food we consume is broken down into sugar and enters the bloodstream. Using insulin, our body absorbs this glucose in order to use it for energy or to store for a later use. When you have diabetes, your body is either unable to use your insulin correctly, or your body doesn’t make enough insulin to do this.
There are three types of diabetes:
- Type 1 – where your body doesn’t make enough insulin
- Type 2 – where your body doesn’t use insulin and therefore cannot regulate your blood sugar
- Gestational – which affects pregnant women
Type 1 most commonly affect the college student population. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious conditions and medical complications, such as blindness, damaged blood vessels, heart disease, nerve damage, and strokes.
Stress from diabetes
Type 1 diabetes requires daily actions like monitoring blood-glucose readings, counting carbohydrate intakes, and calculating insulin shots. Managing the condition can add an additional layer of stress on a young adult. This distress can be related to frustration with self-care and blood glucose monitoring in social settings, as well as having to monitor choices related to diet, exercise, and social engagements.
Outside of college, diabetes distress affects 22% of patients, so when you add in things like inconsistent schedules, time management difficulties, shared living spaces, diet and exercise changes and educational stress, managing it becomes even more challenging.
Adding FreeStyle Libre for $0 copay to Wellfleet Rx Student Formulary (effective July 2021)
FreeStyle Libre products are FDA-approved devices that allow Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics to continuously monitor their glucose levels. The FreeStyle Libre system consists of an easy-to-use reader and sensor kit. The reader scans a sensor that is placed on the back of the upper arm from about one and a half inches and instantly tells the user what their glucose levels are at any time. The device provides a reading every minute, without a finger prick.
With Wellfleet’s Rx Student Formulary (effective July 2021), both FreeStyle Libre readers and sensors will be covered for a $0 copay!
The available FreeStyle Libre products for Wellfleet Rx’s plan currently include:
- FreeStyle Libre 14 day
- FreeStyle Libre 2
“Glucose monitoring is such an important part of diabetes management,” said Jennifer Stevens, Director of Clinical Programs at Wellfleet. “By offering FreeStyle Libre CGM to the student population at no cost, we’re helping to simplify the testing process, while improving a student’s ability to manage their diabetes.”
Why is FreeStyle Libre appealing for college students?
What makes this device ideal for college students is that it is small, convenient, and perfect for time management. It’s a stand-alone continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device and comes with a USB cable, power adapter, and Bluetooth compatibility.
College students want to use innovative technology and the reader and sensor appeal to their tech savvy nature. Further, young adults want to be discreet with their healthcare, so given that the sensor is only the size of two quarters and the reader can easily fit in a pocket, it is just that. Once activated, the sensor is effective for up to 14 days without any daily calibration, helping to simplify their management.
Finally, the device provides multiple, easy to understand visual readings. They include, glucose readings, trend graphs of glucose measures over the last eight hours and the last 90 days, as well as an alert if glucose levels are rapidly changing.
Eliminating cost as a barrier
Typically with private insurance, the out-of-pocket expense can cost at least $50 for the initial sensor and reader, with a recurring $50 monthly fee for replacement sensors. By offering FreeStyle Libre with a $0 copay, Wellfleet, according to Stevens, “is living up to its mission of providing student-centric solutions and removing cost as a barrier to quality medications for our student members.”
Patients who use FreeStyle Libre have more positive outcomes with their diabetes management.
CGM has been tied to improving glycemic control more than conventional glucose monitoring and the FreeStyle Libre CGM is one of the best on the market.
When comparing the A1c (glucose hemoglobin) of CGM patients with the A1c of conventional monitoring patients, the glycemic control was improved more in CGM patients (~7.9% vs ~8.4%.). This is due to CGM providing continuous feedback, better monitoring glucose level trends, and requiring no regular finger sticks. Additionally, the ease of having to only change a sensor twice a month makes monitoring easier, rather than having to test multiple times a day.
Further, in younger adults, studies show using CGM increased the time in the target glucose range by 8% when compared to conventional therapy. When maintained regularly, this leads to a drop in A1c and better management of their diabetes.
Reduce diabetes distress
Another great benefit for CGM users highlighted in a recent study of CGMs over traditional blood monitoring, is an increase in overall wellbeing, treatment satisfaction, and confidence in managing hypoglycemic episodes. CGM can alarm the patient when hypo/hyperglycemic episodes are detected, or when the sensor & reader have not been able to connect for a set period. This gives the patient security in knowing they are always being properly monitored.
What’s important for students to know
Students that are enrolled in Wellfleet Rx will need to obtain prior authorization to obtain FreeStyle Libre for a $0 copay. While managing diabetes can be challenging for students, there are some great tips and organizations like the College Diabetes Network that can help them.
Specific information on a school’s plan and participation can be found in the benefits section of their Wellfleet page. For more information on Wellfleet’s proprietary Student Formulary or its Rx solution, visit wellfleetrx.com/students.