UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) has launched an innovative new therapy that combines wearable technology and customized personal support to help improve the health of people living with type 2 diabetes.
The therapy — known as Level2 — helps eligible participants gain real-time insights about their condition and, for some, successfully reduce spikes in blood sugar levels or even achieve type 2 diabetes remission. Level2 equips eligible participants with integrated tools that include a mobile continuous glucose monitor (CGM), activity tracker, app-based alerts and one-on-one clinical coaching to help encourage healthier lifestyle decisions, such as food choices, exercise and sleep patterns. In the future, UnitedHealth Group may offer the Level2 model to support people with other chronic conditions beyond type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels, as measured by hemoglobin A1C, is a key focus for people with diabetes. In a pilot study of more than 790 UnitedHealthcare members, certain Level2 participants achieved a clinically meaningful reduction in their A1C within 90 days. Participants who began this therapy with the most significantly elevated A1C (above 8.0%) saw the greatest reduction (more than 1 percentage point decrease on average).1 By helping participants better control blood sugar levels and, in certain cases, achieve type 2 diabetes remission, some Level2 participants no longer require medication for their condition. To date, Level2 has helped participants improve their health to the degree they eliminated the need for more than 450 prescriptions.
“The combination of insights and resources in Level2 provides a high-touch, therapeutic benefit to help participants take charge of their type 2 diabetes and achieve better health,” said Amy Meister, D.O., CEO of Level2. “Connected devices such as continuous glucose monitors and activity trackers may be game changers for the approximately 30 million people2 nationwide living with type 2 diabetes. By expanding this innovative new therapy to more members across the country, we are empowering people with actionable information and personalized support.”
Initial studies show that sudden changes in blood sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes may indicate potential COVID-19 infections. Closely monitoring this metric among Level2 participants and supporting people at greater risk for COVID-19 complications, Level2 has demonstrated the ability to predict potential COVID-19 infections and help encourage access to needed medical care earlier. Type 2 diabetes may be a risk factor associated with worse outcomes related to COVID-19.3 However, people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is stable may experience fewer medical complications and greater likelihood of recovery from COVID-19.4
Level2 is part of UnitedHealth Group’s industry-leading focus on integrating human support with advanced data analytics, including from real-time sources such as digital health technologies, to help improve and personalize therapies. UnitedHealth Group initiatives in clinical research and science are focused on a range of health conditions and most recently COVID-19, including collaborations with leading academic institutions. More details are available at unitedinresearch.com.
Through Level2, the combination of wearable technology, clinical coaching, lifestyle changes and incentives* — all offered at no additional cost to eligible UnitedHealthcare members who enroll — is designed to help empower people with type 2 diabetes to become healthier and potentially achieve remission. This is accomplished by helping participants use the latest scientifically proven techniques and personalized support to understand and more effectively stabilize blood sugar levels.
More than 230,000 UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored, fully insured health plan participants in 27 states and Washington D.C. are now eligible for Level2. Participants enrolled in some employer-sponsored health plans may earn financial incentives, including cash or gift cards, by taking actions such as consistently wearing a CGM; completing post-meal walks; interacting with an assigned coach; and following personalized recommendations*.
This multifaceted therapy is being expanded on a pilot basis to select plan participants enrolled in eligible employer-sponsored, fully insured health plans in the following markets: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Level2 will be made available to select employers with self-funded plans later this year.
* Available incentives may vary by state and health plan type/design; eligible incentives offered through Level2 may be in addition to other well-being rewards available through the participants’ health benefits.