Patient Organizations’ Open Letter to UnitedHealth Group



Yesterday a letter was sent to Stephen Hemsley, Chief Executive Officer at UnitedHealth Group about the concerns many diabetes organizations have about UnitedHealth Group’s decision to designate Medtronic as the preferred provider of insulin pumps for their members. Download a PDF of the letter here or read it below:


June 14, 2016

Mr. Stephen Hemsley
Chief Executive Officer
UnitedHealth Group
9900 Bren Road East
Minnetonka, MN 55343

Dear Mr. Hemsley,

We are writing to express our deep concerns with UnitedHealth Group’s recent decision to designate Medtronic as the preferred provider of insulin pumps for UnitedHealthcare Commercial and Community Plan (Medicaid) members starting on July 1, 2016. Our organizations represent millions of people with diabetes and those caring for them, and we understand first hand the complexity of managing diabetes. We ask that UnitedHealthcare reverse this decision that completely removes insulin pump choice.

Patients and their healthcare providers should decide what is best for their clinical needs, not insurance companies or manufacturers. Your policy not only negatively impacts patient access to pump therapy, but it undermines the relationship between the patient and healthcare provider. Despite some very limited exceptions, and the availability of what appears to be burdensome clinical appeals process, UnitedHealth’s actions are taking away patient and provider choice, which is essential in proper disease management.  In fact, many patients who are currently having success managing their diabetes with other pumps will be forced to switch to a new pump in the future.  Restricting access to diabetes care takes us down a slippery slope; today insulin pumps, tomorrow CGM, in the future the artificial pancreas and other medical technologies.

Today’s health care ecosystem emphasizes putting patients at the center of their own care.  Furthermore, Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have also emphasized the importance of patient-focused drug and device development, which seeks to incorporate patient preferences into the development and design of new drugs and medical technologies.  In the end, a patient-centered approach seeks to ensure that the needs of patients are met, which is essential to helping keep people healthy; and thereby, reducing overall healthcare costs.

We strongly request that you reconsider this decision, and reinstate a policy that ensures your members living with diabetes have the freedom to choose an insulin pump that meets their individual needs and helps them achieve the best outcome.

Thank you for your attention to this critically important issue to the diabetes community.



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