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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts adds digital health solutions

The digital offerings focus on chronic back and joint pain and cancer care.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has added two new digital health programs to its emerging solutions portfolio.

Hinge Health for musculoskeletal conditions is a preventive pain management program that helps adults manage chronic back and joint pain through a 12-week, coach-led, digital experience. It is available to self-insured accounts with 1,000-plus employees.

Robin Care provides support for cancer care. It offers information on managing symptoms, improving care coordination and addressing costs. Robin Care is available to self-insured accounts with 500- plus subscribers.


Digital and telehealth have grown in popularity for all involved, from payers and providers to patients and also for employers as a convenient, accessible and less expensive option for healthcare services.

Cost savings have grown as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has offered more flexibility in reimbursing for these services.

Both insurers and their group plan customers have become more focused on preventative health and wellbeing programs.

More than 50 percent of large employers plan to implement more virtual care solutions as their top initiative in 2019, with specific interest in behavioral health, lifestyle coaching, musculoskeletal conditions, diabetes management and physical therapy, Blue Cross said, citing a National Business Group on Health 2019 Large Employer Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey.

Blue Cross is in the position to review technological advancements for healthcare through its investment branch, Zaffre Investments, said Cathy Hartman, senior vice president of Health Engagement and Product at Blue Cross.


The insurer introduced emerging solutions earlier this year to give employer customers options to help improve their employees' health and lower costs.

Blue Cross launched the program with Omada Health and Livongo, for diabetes prevention and management, and with Ovia Health for fertility, pregnancy and parenting.

Omada, for instance, uses a digital curriculum, coaching services and support groups to focus on chronic condition prevention.

The two new emerging solutions became available to self-insured accounts on January 1.


"We know that two of the big conditions impacting our accounts' employees are cancer and chronic knee, hip and back pain," said Debbie Williams, senior vice president of sales and account service at Blue Cross. "We think Robin Care and Hinge Health can make a real difference in the lives of these members."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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