Blue Cross NC Launches No-Cost Virtual Programs for Members to Quit Smoking and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

NEWS RELEASE

Blue Cross NC Media Line: 919-765-3005
Blue Cross NC Online Newsroom: http://mediacenter.bcbsnc.com
Carrot, Inc.: [email protected]
Virta Health: [email protected]

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2020

Blue Cross NC Launches No-Cost Virtual Programs for Members to Quit Smoking and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

The company teams up with Carrot Inc. and Virta Health to offer innovative disease reversal solutions through comprehensive virtual care

DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced it is teaming up with Carrot Inc. and Virta Health to help address two of the largest ongoing health issues facing Americans today – smoking and type 2 diabetes. These programs will be available at no additional cost to eligible members beginning November 2020. They support Blue Cross NC’s commitment to make health care better, simpler, and more affordable by providing members easy access to care through digital technology.

“We resolve to make whole person care a priority, and that means we have to think beyond treating conditions, and work to prevent and reverse them,” said Von Nguyen, vice president of clinical operations and innovations at Blue Cross NC. “We are excited to team up with Carrot and Virta and bring their innovative, life-changing programs directly to the homes of our members and address some of North Carolina’s most pressing health issues.”

Virta and Carrot’s programs will be available to individual under-65 members and fully insured group members beginning November 2020.

Innovative, Digital Technology Empowers People to Quit Smoking

In addition to being the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., smoking remains a tremendous burden on our nation’s health care system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking, and for every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious, smoking-related illness such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, or cancer. Smoking related illness costs the State of North Carolina over $13 billion every yeari.

Carrot’s clinically-proven, app-based program Pivot, combines innovative technology, human-centered design and behavioral science to empower people to quit smoking and remain non-smokers. In a recent clinical study 42 percent of participants achieved a successful quit over the course of the study, and seven months after the onset of the study, 86 percent of those who quit were smoke free.

Pivot’s digital solution includes text-based access to trained tobacco experts, a first-of-its-kind personal breath sensor to track progress, nicotine therapy products, and access to Pivot’s online community for collective wisdom and inspiration.

“Carrot is excited to collaborate with Blue Cross NC to ease the burden smoking has long placed on the state of North Carolina and the American health care system,” said David S. Utley, M.D., CEO of Carrot Inc. “Quitting smoking is hard – every year, millions try to stop smoking. We’re proud to bring Pivot to the hundreds of thousands of Blue Cross NC members who want to live life tobacco free and help them prevent or reverse the severity of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and COPD.”

Diabetes Reversal

More than 3.7 million people in North Carolina—nearly half of the adult population—have either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.ii According to the CDC, diabetes increases the risk for severe illness for those with COVID-19.

Virta Health, the leader in type 2 diabetes reversal, uses an innovative virtual care model that helps patients achieve normal blood sugar while eliminating the need for diabetes-specific medications. Patients receive near real-time access to board-certified physicians and health coaches who provide expert, individualized guidance on nutrition and behavioral change through the Virta app. Virta also serves as a partner to Primary Care Providers, integrating its specialized diabetes reversal treatment into existing care plans.

In Virta’s peer-reviewed clinical outcomes, at one year 94 percent of participants reduced or eliminated the need for insulin. The majority of patients eliminated all diabetes-specific prescriptions while achieving normal blood sugar. Results also include 12 percent (30lbs) weight loss, and improvement in over 20 markers of cardiovascular health, including blood pressure.iii

“This is a massive opportunity to change the direction of health of an entire state, save lives, and significantly reduce healthcare spend along the way,” said Sami Inkinen, Virta Health co- founder and CEO. “Our collaboration with Blue Cross NC provides strong optimism that we can solve the type 2 diabetes crisis our nation is facing.”

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina since 1933, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. Blue Cross NC serves its customers and communities of more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1.1 million on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at www.bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About Carrot Inc:

Carrot is a digital health company delivering clinically proven solutions that empower people to take control of their health. Named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020, Carrot’s Pivot brand is an industry leader in tobacco and vaping cessation. Combining behavioral science, proprietary FDA-cleared medical device technology, pharmacotherapy, community support, and dedicated coaching, we aim to help millions of people quit tobacco. Learn more at https://pivot.co.

About Virta Health:

Virta Health provides the first treatment to safely and sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes without medications or surgery. Among enrolled patients in our clinical trial at one year, 60% achieved diabetes reversal and 94% of insulin users reduced or eliminated usage altogether. Results extend beyond diabetes reversal to other areas of metabolic and cardiovascular health, with sustained improvements in blood pressure, inflammation, liver function, and BMI. For enterprises, Virta puts 100% of its fees at risk and can reduce medical prescription costs by more than 70% in year 1 alone. Delivered through Virta’s novel continuous remote care platform, the Virta Treatment provides unparalleled medical and behavioral support and is transforming the lives of people living with type 2 diabetes. To learn more, visit www.virtahealth.com or follow us on Twitter @virtahealth and LinkedIn.

Carrot and Virta are separate companies that are solely responsible for the services they provide. Carrot and Virta Health do not offer Blue Cross or Blue Shield products or services.


i Centers for Disease Control
ii American Diabetes Association
iii Virta Health Peer-Reviewed Clinical Outcomes at One Year