Medtronic, Blue Cross ink outcomes-based agreement for glucose monitor

Medtronic has struck a value-based agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in which the medical device company will pay back the insurer if patients using the Guardian Connect continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system fail to keep their blood sugar levels within a specified range.

"This is the first time we are entering into a value-based agreement that has as its primary metric achievement of (a plan member's) time-in-range,” Suzanne Winter, vice president for the Americas region of Medtronic’s diabetes group, told the Star Tribune. “That means being in a very healthy range for their glucose.”

Medtronic also announced a user engagement program called Inner Circle for patients who use the Guardian Connect or the MiniMed 670G insulin pump systems. Participants can earn up to $300 per year to offset costs of the monitor and sensors by completing certain activities or achieving monthly time-in-range goals, according to the Star Tribune.

Minnesota Blue Cross will continue offering other CGM devices in its plans, but the Guardian Connect is the only one that will be reclassified as a pharmacy product rather than durable medical equipment. This could lead to lower out-of-pocket costs for some members, the newspaper reported, because patients “often reach out-of-pocket spending caps for drugs long before they hit personal spending caps on medical equipment.”

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