Pivot Health Coach app

Blue Cross NC Launches No-Cost Virtual Programs For Members To Quit Smoking & Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC Media Center

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 year[i].

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.

VirtaImageforMediaCenter mid-5

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 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.

Contact the Health Plans of NC Independent Agent on this webpage for more info on healthcare plans.

Ready to get started?

See plans and pricing today.

Related Articles

Woman with blood pressure cuff looking at another woman taking her blood pressure

What You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure and Health Insurance

High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is a fairly common condition that can eventually lead to health problems like heart disease and strokes if left untreated. With almost half of all American adults experiencing high blood pressure at some point in their lives, monitoring your blood pressure levels is crucial to maintaining your health. Keep reading to find out about high blood pressure health insurance coverage.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC, Kelly Quinn

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC
Medicare, Blue Cross NC

Blue Cross NC Announces Enhanced Benefits on 2021 Medicare Advantage Plans, Introduces Healthy Blue + Medicare

DURHAM, NC – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced that it will again offer $0 premiums for Medicare beneficiaries in its Blue Medicare Advantage service area along with drug coverage and enhanced benefits for its 2021 Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.
For 2021, Blue Cross NC’s MA plans will continue offering low primary care copays, no-cost gym memberships and coverage for hearing exams and hearing aids. Those with prescription drug coverage on their plan will also see the elimination of the deductible on tier 3 drugs and an enhanced formulary.
Also, for 2021, Healthy Blue + Medicare will be available to those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid benefits in the following 18 counties: Alamance, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Harnett, Mecklenburg, Orange, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Wake and Yadkin.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC Media Center

We resolve to make health care more affordable.
Health, Blue Cross NC, Individual/Family

Pulling Back The Curtain On Healthcare Costs

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have brought renewed urgency to the issue, the need for more cost transparency has long been part of the conversation about the future of health care. Beneath the partisan wrangling in Washington lies a serious issue. Not only is health care expensive, but it can be difficult for consumers to know just how much care costs until the final bill arrives.Managing medical costs starts with knowing what they are in the first place. At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, we support the concept of cost transparency. We’re leading the way in making it a reality, not only for our members, but for all North Carolinians.
Cost transparency at your fingertips
It’s hard to believe, but the cost for many common procedures can vary by thousands – in some cases tens of thousands of dollars – within the same city. When consumers don’t have easy access to this information, they are not only in the dark about the total cost of their care, but more importantly how much it will cost them out-of-pocket. A Blue Cross NC analysis showed that some North Carolinians will spend up to 25% of their take-home pay solely on medical expenses. That can be a massive financial burden for families to bear.An early innovator in cost transparency, Blue Cross NC launched a groundbreaking cost comparison tool in 2012 that enables members to compare cost and quality for common procedures before they make important care decisions. Just as consumers can shop for cars or smart phones by doing research before making a purchase, we’re empowering patients to be better informed health care consumers. When patients see that costs for the same surgery in the same area can vary by as much as $19,000, they realize they can choose more affordable options.[1] In 2015, we went a step further and made the tool available to all North Carolinians. Everyone in North Carolina, whether they are a Blue Cross NC member or not, can quickly search for common procedures like MRIs, knee replacements or mammograms and see how the cost compares between nearby providers.
HealthPlans of NC

Blue Cross NC

Person throwing child in the air
Individual/Family, Affordable Care Act

Some People Pay $0 For Health Insurance

In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, President Biden has signed into law the American Rescue Act of 2021  making health insurance coverage significantly more affordable for millions of people. This includes increasing the number of people eligible for subsidies and offering zero-dollar premiums for people with lower incomes. Starting April 1, more Americans will be able to qualify for a lower monthly premium through Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans. 
Can I benefit from The American Rescue Act?
Whether you have private health insurance, lost coverage due to job loss, or are unable to afford a plan, the American Rescue Act may benefit you. The new law also allows people who previously made too much for subsidies to now qualify for premium subsidies.
HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

Ready to get started?

See plans and pricing today.