What You Should Know:
– UnitedHealth Group launches a new pilot for digital health therapy for Type 2 Diabetes to nearly a quarter-million members at no additional cost to more than 230,000 employer-sponsored, fully insured UnitedHealthcare members in 27 states and Washington, D.C.
– The therapy, known as Level2, helps participants gain real-time insights about their condition and, for some, successfully reduces spikes in blood sugar levels or achieves Type 2 Diabetes remission.
– The pilot offers a combination of real-time glucose monitoring, lifestyle changes, and one-on-one coaching to help people stabilize blood sugar levels and flag potential COVID-19 infections
UnitedHealth Group, today announced the launch of an innovative new therapy that combines wearable technology and customized personal support to help improve the health of people living with type 2 diabetes. The therapy — known as Level2 — helps eligible participants gain real-time insights about their condition and, for some, successfully reduce spikes in blood sugar levels or even achieve type 2 diabetes remission.
Level 2 Overview
Level2 equips eligible participants with integrated tools that include a mobile continuous glucose monitor (CGM), activity tracker, app-based alerts, and one-on-one clinical coaching to help encourage healthier lifestyle decisions, such as food choices, exercise and sleep patterns. In the future, the UnitedHealth Group may offer the Level2 model to support people with other chronic conditions beyond type 2 diabetes.
Through Level2, the combination of wearable technology, clinical coaching, lifestyle changes, and incentives — all offered at no additional cost to eligible UnitedHealthcare members who enroll — is designed to help empower people with type 2 diabetes to become healthier and potentially achieve remission. This is accomplished by helping participants use the latest scientifically proven techniques and personalized support to understand and more effectively stabilize blood sugar levels.
Importance of Maintaining Appropriate Blood Sugar Levels
Maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels, as measured by hemoglobin A1C, is a key focus for people with diabetes. This is especially critical now, as Type 2 diabetes is a significant risk factor for those infected with COVID-19, and the therapy has demonstrated an ability to improve the health of those living with the disorder.
Initial Pilot Results
In a pilot study of more than 790 UnitedHealthcare members, certain Level2 participants achieved a clinically meaningful reduction in their A1C within 90 days. Participants who began this therapy with the most significantly elevated A1C (above 8.0%) saw the greatest reduction (more than 1 percentage point decrease on average). By helping participants better control blood sugar levels and, in certain cases, achieve type 2 diabetes remission, some Level2 participants no longer require medication for their condition. To date, Level2 has helped participants improve their health to the degree they eliminated the need for more than 450 prescriptions.
Initial studies show that sudden changes in blood sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes may indicate potential COVID-19 infections. Closely monitoring this metric among Level2 participants and supporting people at greater risk for COVID-19 complications, Level2 has demonstrated the ability to predict potential COVID-19 infections and help encourage access to needed medical care earlier. Type 2 diabetes may be a risk factor associated with worse outcomes related to COVID-19. However, people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is stable may experience fewer medical complications and greater likelihood of recovery from COVID-19.
Jon Alger, 63, a Florida-based participant and software consultant who tested positive for the coronavirus in March, said Level2 was instrumental in helping him recover from COVID-19. “By helping me to better understand and monitor my glucose levels, Level2 encouraged me to eat at the appropriate times and helped me make better choices.”
More than 230,000 UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored, fully insured health plan participants in 27 states and Washington D.C. are now eligible for Level2 at no additional cost. Participants enrolled in some employer-sponsored health plans may earn financial incentives, including cash or gift cards, by taking actions such as consistently wearing a CGM; completing post-meal walks; interacting with an assigned coach, and following personalized recommendations. Available incentives may vary by state and health plan type/design; eligible incentives offered through Level2 may be in addition to other well-being rewards available through the participants’ health benefits.
Future Expansion Plans
This multifaceted therapy is being expanded on a pilot basis to select plan participants enrolled in eligible employer-sponsored, fully insured health plans in the following markets: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Level2 will be made available to select employers with self-funded plans later this year.