DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is working to stop type 2 diabetes in its tracks by offering members the lifestyle-change program Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes (ESMMPD). This is just one of several resources in Blue Cross NC’s portfolio of programs designed to tackle diabetes. ESMMPD is a 12-month online program developed and delivered by NC State University and is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Programs like ESMMPD have been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.1
Blue Cross NC is reaching out to eligible members who have been diagnosed with prediabetes or who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and inviting them to participate in the ESMMPD program. More than 3.7 million people in North Carolina—nearly half of the adult population—have either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. 2
“Diabetes is one of the most prevalent health issues facing North Carolinians today,” said Von Nguyen, chief medical officer at Blue Cross NC. “By giving members the tools to stop type 2 diabetes before it starts, we’re working towards our goal of more affordable, better health care for all North Carolinians.”
Since 2005, Blue Cross NC has offered a similar program to group employers focused on weight loss. A recent Blue Cross NC evaluation of members who participated in that program —Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less — in 2016 showed that the lifestyle changes made by members were still having a financial impact in 2019. The average annual savings per member for the 2016 participants who completed the program was approximately $972 between 2016 and 2019.
ESMMPD is similar in that it focuses on healthy eating, weight loss, physical activity and stress management. Participant results show an average weight loss of 10 pounds over the course of the program and a 98% program satisfaction rating. 3
“We are thrilled to be able to offer ESMMPD to more people thanks to the coverage from Blue Cross NC. We know that too many North Carolinians have prediabetes. We also know that they can prevent type 2 diabetes by participating in this structured lifestyle-change program,” said Dr. Carolyn Dunn, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emerita at NC State University and Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes Principal Investigator. “We are here to help with trained lifestyle coaches that know how to help people make meaningful changes to their eating and physical activity habits. A diabetes-free life is possible.”
Reversing type 2 diabetes
While ESMMPD focuses on preventing type 2 diabetes, Blue Cross NC also has programs to help members manage and even reverse the disease. Blue Cross NC teamed up with Virta Health in 2020 to provide eligible members access to 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 addition to ESMMPD, ESMMWL, and Virta, Blue Cross NC offers several programs to help eligible members manage diabetes, such as:
- Nurse support
- Diabetes progress reports
- Diabetes self-management education and support
ESMMPD is available to individual, under-65 members and fully insured group members. There is a $30 fee that is fully refunded when the program is completed. Members can take a risk test at BlueCrossNC.com/PreventDiabetes to see if they qualify. Members interested in reversing type 2 diabetes can learn more about Virta here.
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 4.2 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.
1 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/research-behind-ndpp.htm
3 Source: Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes internal analysis of outcomes data from program completers in classes launched from January 2019 to February 2020.