January 4, 2021

Thrivable’s ADA Partnership Reveals the Severe Impact of COVID-19 on Americans With Diabetes

Thrivable and the American Diabetes Association uncover intense health and financial challenges, as well as food scarcity issues, resulting from the pandemic.

Cleveland, OH — Thrivable and the American Diabetes Association® today released the results of a joint survey summary report exploring the severity of the pandemic's impact on Americans living with diabetes. Based on the responses of nearly 2,600 people living with diabetes, the report outlines the financial and economic toll of the pandemic on the health and wellbeing of patients nationwide.

Adverse impacts include a lack of access to the drugs, devices, insurance, and food that patients need to properly manage their diabetes, or even survive, during COVID-19. 

"For months we have known that people with diabetes are at heightened risk during COVID. Yet what the data show is that the level of adversity facing our community from this crisis is at an even more critical point," says Tracey D. Brown, CEO of the American Diabetes Association. "As many as 40 percent of the COVID fatalities — 120,000 Americans — have been people with diabetes, and more in our community may be at risk of the worst of the virus' effects because so many are now unable to manage their diabetes effectively.”

Financial strain a common theme among survey respondents

Of critical concern is that 9% of respondents said they could not afford medical care during the pandemic. In addition:

  • 1 in 5 people said they had foregone or put off getting a pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM), while for half of them, it was due to financial strain.

  • 15% of people with diabetes who rely on management technologies like pumps or CGMs have delayed refilling needed supplies during the pandemic; for 70% of them, it was due to financial strain.

  • 12% of people with diabetes have experienced a disruption in insurance coverage since the start of the pandemic; of those who lost coverage in the pandemic’s wake, 50% could not regain coverage.

Results also showed that the pandemic disrupted access to healthy food for more than 1 in 4 people with diabetes. Food insecurity disproportionately impacted individuals with lower reported annual household incomes, and nearly 1 in 5 respondents reported needing to rely on nutrition assistance programs in the wake of COVID-19.

“Understanding the impact of a global health pandemic on at-risk patient populations as quickly as possible is critical to America’s ability to improve health outcomes and reverse negative impacts,” notes Thrivable CEO David Edelman. “The ability to connect with patients and gather meaningful insights as fast as Thrivable and the ADA were able to should be the status quo. It’s what the team at Thrivable continues to work towards every day.” 

About the Survey
To assess how the pandemic has affected Americans with diabetes when it comes to disease management and care, Thrivable and the American Diabetes Association conducted a multiple-choice survey between Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, 2020. The majority of respondents (53%) had type 2 diabetes (T2D), whereas 47% had type 1 diabetes (T1D). All 50 U.S. states were represented in the sample and 69% of respondents were female. View the summary report

About Thrivable
Thrivable connects patients and companies to create better products and services for the next generation of health care. Our real-time market research platform makes it easy for patients to be their own advocates by sharing their insights, stories, and perspectives via surveys, interviews, focus groups, and usability studies. Health care companies turn to Thrivable to ensure the voice of the customer drives important business decisions every day. .   

About the American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation's leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For nearly 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life.

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