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Portico Takes Aim at Chronic Conditions with New Support Program

Feb. 11, 2018

Portico is pleased to introduce a new benefit to help at-risk members with ELCA-Primary health benefits avoid the onset of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. As another step in its ongoing commitment to provide more personalized wellness support, Portico has partnered with Omada®, a digital program designed to help eligible adults make modest changes that can lead to weight loss, reduced risk for chronic disease, lower health care costs, and improved quality of life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in three American adults has prediabetes, or elevated blood sugar. Left untreated, prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke ― yet 90% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Portico introduced biometric screening earlier this year to help raise awareness of prediabetes and other health risks. For members seeking to improve their biometric results, Omada offers proven support, according to Josh Smith, Portico’s Director of Health Products. “Many of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are reversible. Omada is a robust program with demonstrated success helping people take control of their health and make lifestyle changes they can stick with.”

Members accepted into the Omada program complete 16 weeks of online lessons related to eating, activity, sleep, and stress, combined with coaching, a wireless scale, and an online peer group. The program is digital, which Smith cites as a good fit for the entire ELCA community. “We’ve heard from plan members in rural areas who have limited access to health care providers or fitness centers. With Omada, you don’t have to drive to a specific location or buy special meals or equipment. The program comes to you through your computer or smartphone.”

To maximize stewardship and impact, individuals must be at risk for type 2 diabetes or heart disease to join the program. Omada will send periodic emails to plan members and spouses with ELCA-Primary health benefits, inviting them to take a 1-minute questionnaire to see if they qualify. Recent biometric screening results can be used to help complete the questionnaire. Eligible members then complete an online application to ensure they’re a good fit for the program, and set up an online account. Omada participants typically spend two to three hours per week tracking food and exercise, weighing themselves, and completing online lessons.

According to Omada, average participants lose 4 – 5% of their body weight within 16 weeks, keep most of it off after two years, and lower their risk for type 2 diabetes by 30%, stroke by 16%, and heart disease by 13%.* In addition, many participants report better sleep, less stress, lower blood pressure, and reduced reliance on certain medications.

Eligible members participate in the Omada program at no additional cost. “If you’re ready to make positive change in your life, we’ll provide the tools and support. We are so confident in the success of this program that we want to cover the full cost for members who can benefit from it,” Smith said. Omada estimates that health plans recover their costs and save more than $2,000 per participant over five years. “It’s a great investment in our members’ well-being and our plan’s financial health.”


About Portico Benefit Services
A ministry of the ELCA, Portico Benefit Services provides health, retirement, disability, and survivor benefits and related services for approximately 50,000 active and retired ELCA rostered ministers, lay employees, and their families. For more information, contact Portico at 800.352.2876.