New Program Helps With Weight Management

Feb. 25, 2021

At the end of 2020 BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina rolled out a new product to fully insured groups to help members find personalized wellness plans. 

This innovative new health platform matches members to proven programs to help them achieve their health goals. Programs include WW (Weight Watchers® reimagined), Virgin Pulse and more. Depending on the program, members may be provided with tools to help them succeed, like a free Fitbit activity tracker or wireless scale.

“This gives employers an opportunity to put the choice in the member’s hands when it comes to choosing clinically supported weight management program options and ensuring they’ll only pay for a member’s engagement and health outcomes from the program. This also gives employers a more streamlined way to implement new program options within the same My Health Novel experience,” says Dr. Tripp Jennings, clinical innovation officer at BlueCross.  

What is it? 

The program, My Health NovelSM, is a personalized health and wellness program that guides members to tools and support. Members can pick a program that will work for them, get free tools like an activity tracker, a personalized plan with the help of a health coach, and tips on eating better, exercising and moving more. All of the program benefits are included at no extra cost to the member. 

“My Health Novel personalizes the solution for each individual member based on what outcomes they are pursuing, what motivates them, and how they want to engage, all of which should lead to higher levels of member engagement and improved health outcomes,” Jennings says. 

Why is this helpful? 

It is clear that underlying health conditions — in particular obesity — drive health care costs higher. Obesity affects two out of three adults and one out of three children according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 

National data shows obesity costs about $147 billion annually. Obesity-related absenteeism costs between $3.38 billion and $6.38 billion annually. 

My Health Novel will help members find wellness programs that fit their individual lifestyle to help them lose weight. 

“A big part of this program is that it will meet the member where they are,” says Sara Grace Bailey, strategic product consultant. “The health quiz that the member completes does the work and matches the individual to the best fitting program. This means it is less work for your employees.” 

Another plus to the program is that it is found in My Health Toolkit® where members can find it on their own. After taking a brief health quiz, each member will be matched to the program that is best for them. A member can retake the quiz at any time if their goals change or they are ready for a new program.

Who can it help? 

The platform identifies those individuals who benefit most from losing weight, including obese individuals and those who are overweight with an additional risk factor such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and/ or high cholesterol.

Who has access? 

Employers who are interested in offering this program to their employees should contact their BlueCross representative.

How can it help my employees? 

Healthy weight management has been found to improve productivity at work. Likewise, the weight management program helps individuals increase their weekly physical activity towards national guidelines. Getting the recommended amount of weekly physical activity is associated with “substantial” health benefits according to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Medical and public health organizations have determined that when individuals at risk of overweight and obesity- related comorbidities lose just 5 percent of their weight they reduce their risk for developing diabetes, help control high blood pressure and blood sugars, and improve health in numerous other domains.

Weight Watchers and Virgin Pulse are independent companies that provide wellness programs and services on behalf of your health plan.

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