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Diabetes reversal is possible thanks to new relationship between medical insurance company Banner|Aetna and Virta Health

By Tom Grote, Banner|Aetna CEO

Diabetes and prediabetes affect more American adults than any other disease - in fact, the number of people with diabetes is higher than ever before. Diabetes and its related conditions can have a big impact on quality of life regardless of age, affecting physical, mental, emotional, and financial well-being. On average, medical expenses for those with diabetes are twice as high as those without the disease.

A problem of this scale requires a better approach, which is why medical insurance company Banner|Aetna teamed up to bring Virta Health's innovative diabetes management program to eligible members in Arizona for the first time. 

Virta’s diabetes treatment program helps people with type 2 diabetes actually reverse their condition without medication. The team-based model gives patients 24/7 access to a team of licensed care professionals, so they don’t have to struggle to get in contact with one busy provider (doctor, health coach, dietician, etc.) when they need support or guidance. Patients are also connected to an understanding community of like-minded people who have been through the experience themselves. Thanks to these resources, along with continuous remote care, personalized nutrition plans, and app-based self-help resources, patients are empowered with the information they need to make the best possible care decisions. This highly individualized approach is in line with the latest American Diabetes Association guidance which emphasizes the importance of providing patient-centered services based on life circumstances, desires and needs and social determinants of health. Virta has demonstrated success in helping people achieve normal blood sugar without medication so they can get back to doing what they love the most.

“I spent years trying everything to manage my type 2 diabetes, but nothing worked,” said Banner|Aetna member and Virta success story Chris Stewart. “Then I found Virta. Along with the support of my coaches, I’ve now reversed my condition, gotten off all of my diabetes medications—saving $500+ per year on copays—and am down 110 pounds. I’m feeling incredible, and the best part is that I can truly enjoy riding BMX with my daughter again!”

Overall, for patients completing two years of Virta's treatment, peer-reviewed clinical trial results show: 

  • The average daily insulin dosage was reduced by 81%
  • 67% of all prescriptions were eliminated
  • Patients experienced 10% weight loss, exceeding FDA benchmarks by 100%

After two years in the program, 70% of patients are still participating which makes Virta more sustainable than other diet and lifestyle programs. According to Robert Groves, MD, Banner|Aetna EVP and CMO, “the Virta intake process sets patients up for success in helping them find their ‘why.’ By helping patients identify 'why' they want to improve their health, you will find a key advocate. For Banner|Aetna member Chris, his ‘why’ was to ride BMX with his daughter…Finding the ‘why’ gives patients a deep source of inspiration to draw from to stay on track.”

Virta’s program is available at no extra cost to eligible members of Banner|Aetna’s fully insured and Administrative Services Only groups. Self-funded employer groups can also access prediabetes and obesity reversal offerings that use the same innovative care model to deliver sustainable health transformation. If you’re interested in learning more about our coverage, visit our Employer or Individual pages. 

Banner|Aetna medical insurance company’s innovative relationship with Virta Health was recently highlighted in leading industry publications Healthcare Finance NewsModern Healthcareand mhealthcareintelligence

Transforming health care, together

Banner|Aetna aims to offer access to more efficient and effective member care at a more affordable cost. We join the right medical professionals with the right technology, so members benefit from quality, personalized health care designed to help them reach their health ambitions.

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What's New

Health benefits and health insurance plans are offered, underwritten, and/or administered by Banner Health and Aetna Health Insurance Company and/or Banner Health and Aetna Health Plan Inc. (Banner|Aetna). Banner|Aetna is an affiliate of Banner Health and of Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna). Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products. Aetna and Banner Health provide certain management services to Banner|Aetna. Aetna, CVS Pharmacy® and MinuteClinic, LLC (which either operates or provides certain management support services to MinuteClinic-branded walk-in clinics) are part of the CVS Health® family of companies.

98point6® is a registered trademark of 98point6 Inc. Access to 98point6® is not included in all plans. 98point6 is available to members age 1-17 when an adult parent or guardian is also enrolled in the plan.

This material is for information only. An application must be completed to obtain coverage. Rates and benefits vary by location. Providers are independent contractors and are not agents of Banner|Aetna. Provider participation may change without notice.

Health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.

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