Gestational diabetes

Survey refutes claims that GDM raises insurance premiums

A diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) will not increase the cost of a woman’s life or disability insurance, a survey of 12 major Australian insurance companies has revealed.

The finding flies in the face of claims made by critics of diagnostic criteria for diabetes in pregnancy recommended by the International Association of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups and endorsed by the World Health Organization.

In a letter to Diabetic Medicine, two Wollongong-based endocrinologists and a member of the Australian Life Underwriters and Claims Association, revealed they had surveyed the insurance companies with a hypothetical scenario in which a 40-year-old woman in good health who had been diagnosed with GDM during her second pregnancy 10 years prior.

“The responses received covered ~ 94% of the retail life insurance new business in Australia,” they wrote. “They were unanimous that they all take into account a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus, but the diagnosis per se would not lead to an increase in premiums for life or disability insurance.”

A similar study in the UK had similar results, they wrote.

Co-author, Professor Robert Moses, director of Diabetes Services and Principal Investigator, at the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Local Health District’s Clinical Trial and Research Unit, said the insurance issue was one raised by critics of the new diagnostic criteria.

“Unfortunately there’s been no evidence at all that this has been the case,” he told the limbic.

He said some critics wanted to see the criteria lowered, which would see less women diagnosed with GDM.

“I think that if someone doesn’t believe that something is correct, they will hand their hat on anything, whether it is right or wrong,” he said.

Professor Moses said the cost of treating diabetes in pregnancy had also been raised as a significant concern, but it could be argued that treating GDM could reduce obstetric risk and the need for obstetric intervention such as Caesarean section and the infant requiring treatment in a special care nursery.

“The cost of treating diabetes in pregnancy is insignificant when compared with the overall obstetric costs,” he said.

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