For employers, chronic health conditions are costly in many ways. Not only can a sick employee population cost more due to increased medical needs, but employers also need to contend with missed working hours and potentially lower morale.
One of the most common and expensive disease states to manage is type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable. Nationally, 30.3 million people have type 2 diabetes and another 84.1 million people have prediabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the fifth most prominent chronic condition affecting 5.5 percent of commercially-insured Blue Cross members, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health Index.
The total medical costs and lost work and wages for people with diagnosed diabetes is a staggering $245 billion, while the risk of death for adults with diabetes is 50 percent higher than for adults without the disease. An individual with type 2 diabetes costs roughly two and a half times as much as a healthy individual. With complications, that number soars even higher. So, what can employers do?
Starting soon, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will offer two innovative programs to our self-funded employer groups. Starting Jan. 1, 2019, we’ll partner with Omada and Livongo, two digital health leaders, to offer a two-pronged approach to help members prevent diabetes and better manage existing diabetic symptoms. The integrated program is designed to reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases and help those with chronic conditions live healthier lives through guided coaching and digital tools, provided at no out-of-pocket cost to members. “Type 2 diabetes is a preventable chronic disease that has a significant impact on the health of our population and is a major health cost driver for our large self-funded customers,” said Dr. Aaron Friedkin, vice president of Clinical Strategies at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Omada’s and Livongo’s innovative solutions utilize behavioral science and technology to engage and empower members to prevent and manage this complex condition.”
Best-in-class diabetes prevention program, Omada, helps stop diabetes in its tracks For people with pre-diabetes, losing just five to seven percent body weight can lead to a 58 percent decrease in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Within 16 weeks of using Omada, participants who complete the program typically lose about four to five percent, putting them well on their way to avoiding chronic disease. The best part? After two years, most have kept it off. The heart of the program lies in its ability to offer intensive behavioral counseling through coaching, digital tools and real-time feedback. As the only digital program with full recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Omada targets unhealthy behaviors rather than symptoms. Participants work toward goals by making small changes to their eating, activity, sleep and stressors in the first 16 weeks and then focus on sustaining those behaviors for a year and beyond.
Diabetes management program, Livongo, empowers people with diabetes to better control health Livongo offers group customers a turn-key digital solution they can offer to employees to help them manage their type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It helps people understand how their actions affect their blood glucose numbers and helps them identify steps to take to keep their disease under control. Livongo offers real-time support, with certified diabetes educators on call for live interventions during acute events. Coaching is also available by phone, text message and mobile app. The program provides members with everything they need to monitor their blood sugar free of charge and delivered automatically to their front door, eliminating a barrier to managing the disease. Online access to blood glucose readings, along with graphs and insights, empower members to take control. In fact, 88 percent of Livongo users reported a positive experience with the program and 75 percent feel more confident in managing their diabetes.
If you’re interested in learning more about offering diabetes management and prevention programs to your employees, contact your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan representative or sales agent for more information.