Wellness programs—particularly those designed for employees—haven’t always proven to actually be beneficial. But BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina says that members it serves have seen enough success with its personalized health and wellness program that it expanded the program earlier this month to include mental health and musculoskeletal services.
BlueCross has been working with Solera Health, which built a customized healthcare platform and offers select condition management programs to employees of fully insured employer groups on behalf of BlueCross. The insurer and Phoenix-based Solera launched the wellness program, My Health Novel, in January 2021. The first “chapter” focused on healthy weight management, diabetes prevention and behavioral counseling.
About 1,500 members who participated in the weight loss program lost 5% of their body weight, said Kasey How, director of product and marketing communications at BlueCross, in a Zoom call last week.
“The members that participated for at least 26 weeks lost, on average, 9% of their body weight,” How said.
That weight loss also helped 1 in 5 employees enrolled in the wellness program cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by more than half, according to BlueCross.
How said BlueCross got positive feedback from employees and employers who only pay for the wellness program if employees are engaged in it. In fact, the company found that a whopping majority—84%—of those who were matched to online programs tailored to their specific needs said the program increased their satisfaction with BlueCross.
My Health Novel’s new services now include those offered by companies like eMindful, Headspace and Ginger for mental and behavioral health. Members can access these platforms to get help with stress, anxiety and depression as well as other mental health concerns.
Employees who wants to be proactive in addressing joint pain from arthritis or other musculoskeletal issues also have options. My Health Novel now links members to Hinge Health, Kaia Health and Sworkit to get ongoing guidance and support to address musculoskeletal conditions—like help developing and following a home-based physical therapy program.
A spokesperson for Solera confirmed that the company chose the network partners after an extensive vetting process to make sure they met its standards for efficacy and customer satisfaction. How said the different companies were chosen for the platform to address members’ varying levels of need.
BlueCross is hardly alone in providing customized wellness programs. Other insurers are increasingly doing the same. For example, UnitedHealthcare supports a number of corporate wellness programs, including custom-created programs offered by Rally Health, and Aetna has more than 70 wellness programs.
With medical care, people “expect it to be heavily personalized and seamless, and health insurance is no different,” How said.