Aetna Promotes Personalized Weight-Loss Options
-- Information, outreach help match programs to individual needs --
HARTFORD, Conn. -- January 14, 2014
Many people have made the annual weight-loss resolution and others are already
on a journey to a healthier body weight. To help inspire a start or encourage
continued progress, Aetna (NYSE: AET) wants to help members find their best
weight-loss approach and provides information and access to lifestyle
management programs, prescription medications and surgical options. Aetna also
is launching a pilot program to test the benefits of new FDA-approved,
prescription weight-loss drugs combined with lifestyle support.
“Weight loss is a complex, physical and emotional challenge,” says Ed Pezalla,
M.D., national medical director for pharmacy policy and strategy. “A single
approach to weight loss will not be right for everyone. We want to help our
members make healthy lifestyle choices by providing access to clinically
proven options, information and support that may deliver better results and
new hope for those struggling to lose weight.”
No one size fits all when it comes to weight loss
Whether someone needs to lose a little or a lot, a balanced approach to weight
loss that emphasizes a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and physical activity is
the first line of defense. Members can find support to make changes through
Aetna’s Healthy Lifestyle Coaching programs and CarePass^® consumer website
and mobile solution that gives convenient access to some of the best health
and wellness mobile apps in the marketplace. These programs have helped
individuals lose a few to more than 100 pounds.
For some people, healthy lifestyle changes are not always enough. Adding a
prescription weight-loss drug may help people who have a body mass index (BMI)
of 27 or greater with at least one other weight-related risk or medical
condition or those with a BMI of 30 or greater. In 2012, two new weight-loss
drugs were approved by the FDA for the first time in 13 years: BELVIQ^® (Eisai
Inc.) and Qsymia^® (VIVUS, Inc.). Clinical trials indicate significant
potential for body weight loss ranging between 5-15 percent. Blood pressure,
cholesterol and blood sugar also decreased among participants.
Building from the clinical evidence, Aetna is collaborating with Eisai and
VIVUS to offer a pilot program to self-insured plan sponsors. The pilot
includes outreach to high-risk members and doctors about covered weight-loss
options. To support weight loss and positive lifestyle changes, members who
qualify and begin treatment with BELVIQ or Qsymia receive free premium
membership to the mobile app “Lose It!” by signing up through Aetna
Navigator^® and CarePass.
The pilot will measure potential improvement in health outcomes, productivity
and medical costs. Results are expected by the end of 2014. Plan sponsors have
the option to cover these prescription weight-loss medications in Aetna’s
health benefit plans.
For some people with extreme obesity, bariatric surgery may be the right
solution. Aetna’s Institutes of Quality^® Bariatric surgery facilities have
been designated as meeting high-quality standards based on optimal clinical
outcomes and value. Like prescription weight-loss medications, bariatric
surgery is a benefit option for plan sponsors.
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits
companies, serving an estimated 44 million people with information and
resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care.
Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed
health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy,
dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical
management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers'
compensation administrative services and health information technology
products and services. Aetna's customers include employer groups, individuals,
college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care
providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and
expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.
Tammy Arnold, 713-721-7891
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