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Roughly 30 million people – 14% of adults in the U.S. - have diabetes and 4% don't even know they have the disease, according to a September 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1.
Older adults are disproportionately affected by diabetes, with 25% of Americans over the age of 60 afflicted with the disease2, according to Diabetes.org. With an aging population in the U.S., the condition remains an increasingly major cause for concern among medical professionals.
If there's a possibility of stemming the rising tide of diabetes cases in America, an increased focus on prevention is critical.
Cigna is aiming to prevent diabetes before it starts with a new partnership with Omada Health, a company that specializes in digital therapeutics for chronic diseases. The new program, which expands on Cigna's Diabetes Prevention Program, is designed to "deliver an expanded suite of personalized, user-friendly digital health tools to help people prevent the onset of diabetes and other chronic diseases."
"Cigna is a pioneer in helping people avoid preventable disease and is leading the way in delivering access to innovative, value-based care to its employer clients," said Sean Duffy, co-founder and CEO of Omada Health. "We look forward to working together to deliver results on a broad scale."
This digital lifestyle program will be available to Cigna's national and regional employer clients in January 2019. It connects participants with a personal health coach, underscoring Cigna's belief in the importance of mixing human interaction and empathy with technological innovations to achieve better results. Participants will also get support from an online peer group composed of people taking part in the program. The sharing of ideas, goals and challenges is helpful for individuals staying motivated.
Omada's technology, synchronized with Cigna health services tools (including the myCigna® mobile app), offers an array of diabetes prevention tools: a discount gym-membership program with 9,000 participating fitness centers; a team of Cigna Health Coaches offering support along the way; employer incentive programs that include premium discounts or HSA contributions to reward progress.
Before launching the Diabetes Prevention Program, Cigna and Omada ran a series of pilots with several large clients. The results were promising:
- Participants sustained an average weight loss of 3.5-5% after one year.3
- Net medical cost savings over two years for participants ranged from $424 to $972. 3
- 83% of participants said they'd recommend the program to a friend.3
Cigna officials say they're encouraged by the results of the pilots and hope that the Diabetes Prevention Program will expand the benefits to more Cigna customers. They also plan to look at opportunities to expand the program into other disease areas.
1 30 Million Americans Now Have Diabetes, WebMd, September 2018, 30 Million Americans Now Have Diabetes
2 Older Adults, American Diabetes Association, American Diabetes Association – Older Adults
3 Cigna Expands Personalized Diabetes Prevention Program In Collaboration With Omada Health, Cigna, September 2018, Cigna Expands Personalized Diabetes Prevention Program In Collaboration With Omada Health