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Banner|Aetna members eliminate Half of Diabetes Medications After Six Months on Virta Health’s Type 2 Diabetes Reversal Program

After six months, members see improvements including weight loss and blood sugar reduction

Phoenix, AZ (April 4, 2023): Banner|Aetna, a joint venture health plan owned by Banner Health and Aetna, a CVS Health company, announced successful outcomes from its strategic alliance with Type 2 diabetes reversal leader Virta Health. .

A highly effective weapon against Type 2 diabetes, Virta’s individualized approach helps members lower their blood sugar and lose weight while reducing or eliminating the need for diabetes medications.

After six months, Banner|Aetna members with Type 2 diabetes have achieved profound results, including:

  • Blood sugar reduction: Estimated A1c improved by 1.4% on average. Every one-point decrease in A1c (a measure of estimated blood sugar) reduces the risk of long-term diabetes complications—such as eye, kidney, and nerve disease—by up to 40%.
  • Rx reduction: Patients eliminated 50% of diabetes medications (excluding metformin), including an 85% reduction in insulin dosages. Of those on insulin, 40% eliminated it completely.
  • Clinically significant weight loss: Members experienced 8.2% weight loss on average (5% is considered clinically significant). Nearly a quarter achieved 15% or more weight loss.

To work effectively with Banner|Aetna’s diverse and nationwide member base, health coaches offer personalized recommendations that cater to the dietary and budgetary needs of each member. The program also provides care exclusively through a virtual model that connects members with providers and health coaches via an app, regardless of location.

For Banner|Aetna member and Phoenix resident Paula Drum, this one-on-one support was critical to her success. Drum said, “Unlike other programs I’ve tried, Virta’s approach isn’t one-size-fits-all. I worked with my coach to find a plan that works for me, so I know this is a lifestyle change I’ll stick with long-term.”

After more than a decade of struggling with Type 2 diabetes, Drum joined Virta. During the past eight months, she has lost more than 20 pounds, lowered her HbA1C to 5.7%—almost below prediabetes levels—and eliminated her diabetes medication. Plus, she has the energy again to enjoy her favorite hobbies, like crafts and crocheting.

“My mom died at 53—the age I am now—and I wasn’t ready to let that happen to me,” said Drum. “Now, I feel healthier than ever before. It’s like I finally have control over my life.”

For Banner|Aetna CEO Tom Grote, the results speak for themselves.

“Like I’ve said before, partnering with Virta is the smartest thing I’ve done in recent memory—and our work is just beginning,” said Grote. “We’ve never had a program deliver such strong, measurable clinical outcomes. Plus, it’s incredible to hear our members' success stories—beyond the diabetes improvement and weight loss, people are getting their lives back.”

Banner|Aetna currently offers Type 2 diabetes reversal to eligible members of fully insured and Administrative Services Only groups.

About Banner|Aetna

Banner|Aetna is a health insurance company focusing on bettering member outcomes at a lower cost, all while improving the overall member experience for employers and consumers in Arizona. The collaboration combines Banner Health’s high-quality, local providers and delivery systems with Aetna’s health-plan experience, care management and health information technology. Banner|Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by Banner Health and Aetna Health Insurance Company and Banner Health and Aetna Health Plan Inc. For more information about Banner|Aetna, visit

About Banner Health

Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner also operates an academic medicine division, Banner – University Medicine, and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits, and Banner operates a free 24/7 nurse line for health questions or concerns. Patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit

About CVS Health

CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that’s managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.

About Virta Health

Virta Health helps people reverse type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions. Current approaches manage disease progression through increased medication use and infrequent doctor visits. Virta reverses type 2 diabetes through innovations in technology, nutrition science, and continuous remote care from physicians and behavioral experts. In clinical studies, 94% of patients reduce or eliminate insulin use, and weight-loss exceeds FDA benchmarks by 150%. Virta works with the largest health plans, employers, and government organizations and puts 100% of its fees at risk based on clinical and financial outcomes. To learn more about how Virta is transforming lives by reversing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, visit or follow us on Twitter @virtahealth.

Media Contact:
Sarah McLeod
Activate Health

Lauren Cunningham
Virta Health

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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