Feb. 20, 2014
Blue Cross employees will benefit from “Prevent” through online, interactive tools to raise awareness of risk and provide support
BATON ROUGE, La. — Many of us know a family member, friend or other loved one who is living with diabetes. There are 27 million Americans who have diabetes, and Louisiana has the second-highest diabetes mortality rate in the nation. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is taking a leading role in addressing this condition, becoming the first health insurance company and employer in Louisiana to implement an online diabetes prevention program, called Prevent, in partnership with Omada Health.
While the seriousness and potential effects of diabetes are widely reported, many people are unaware of an even more common problem: prediabetes.
Prediabetes, as the name implies, is considered the early warning stage for diabetes. People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, which can cause kidney, nerve or eye damage. And 70 percent of people who have prediabetes will eventually develop Type 2 diabetes. But, most people who have prediabetes—90 percent—do not even know they have it. This is unfortunate, as one in three Americans, or 87 million, are living with prediabetes, and they could reduce or eliminate their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by making moderate lifestyle changes like exercising, eating a healthier diet and losing weight. Research shows people who participate in diabetes prevention programs can reduce their risk for Type 2 diabetes by 58 to 71 percent.
The Prevent program is designed to engage participants, helping them become aware of prediabetes and the associated risk for diabetes so they can begin taking steps to improve their health.
“Diabetes is a serious condition that is unfortunately very common in Louisiana. We saw a great opportunity to partner with Omada Health to use an innovative approach to first help our employees find out if they have prediabetes, then work with them to make changes so they can become healthier,” said David Carmouche, M.D., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana executive vice president of external operations and chief medical officer. “By empowering our employees and providing the tools and encouragement they need to adopt good health habits, we believe the Prevent program can help them lower or eliminate their risk of developing diabetes.”
“We’re thrilled to be partnering on this initiative,” said Sean Duffy, CEO of Omada Health. “Prevent was designed to be as enjoyable, convenient and effective as possible. Every participant gets access to a health coach, a wireless scale and a host of innovative, interactive online tools to help them make the right changes in the right way. And, of course, everything you need comes to you, either directly to your doorstep or to your fingertips.”
Blue Cross is offering Prevent to employees and their adult dependents who are covered through an employee’s health plan, and the insurer will cover the full cost of the program and participation for eligible members. Blue Cross is starting with its own employee group, but plans to expand the Prevent program as a benefit to other employer groups later this year.
Using its claims and health screening data, Blue Cross will be able to identify employees who have or are at risk for prediabetes. For example, a doctor might have diagnosed someone with prediabetes, or the person could have indicators such as elevated blood sugar in routine health screenings, or a woman could have had gestational diabetes. Prevent, in partnership with Blue Cross, will then contact eligible employees or dependents to let them know about the program and how they can participate.
In the 16-week Prevent program, members will have access to a health coach, who will provide them with personal support and guidance. They also have a variety of online tools, which will help them track their progress, learn about how they can make positive behavior changes and stay motivated. And, members will have social support through online interaction, similar to a chat room, with other Prevent participants, where they can exchange tips and encourage each other.
Participants will track their progress and goals throughout the program, and Blue Cross will compile this data to determine how effective Prevent was in helping the participants lower their diabetes risk.
The first group of participants will begin the Prevent program in late February.
For more information about health and wellness programs available through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, visit www.bcbsla.com/wellness.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a private, fully taxed mutual company, owned by policyholders—not shareholders. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and is governed by a Louisiana Board of Directors.
The company and its subsidiaries provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to Louisiana residents. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices around the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care.
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