Increased Number of U.S. Employers Offering Coverage for GLP-1s for Weight Loss

Increased Number of U.S. Employers Offering Coverage for GLP-1s for Weight Loss

Employers are increasingly covering GLP-1 medications for weight loss, according to a recent survey. These medications, such as Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy, are being included in employer health plans for both diabetes and weight loss, with coverage increasing from 26% to one-third in the last year. This is great news for patients who struggle with the high costs of these medications, as well as for manufacturers like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, who are working to expand insurance coverage and patient access.

While GLP-1 drugs for weight loss are gaining popularity and coverage, many health plans and insurers still do not cover these medications. However, plans often cover GLP-1 drugs for diabetes, which have also seen an increase in coverage in recent years.

The rise in coverage for GLP-1 medications is attributed to new regulatory approvals, clinical trials, and growing demand in the U.S. for these treatments. For example, Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy has been cleared for reducing the risk of serious heart complications, leading to potential broader insurance coverage in the future.

Despite the benefits of these medications, they can strain health plan budgets. Employers are implementing cost-control measures such as eligibility requirements based on BMI and step therapy to manage expenses related to GLP-1 drugs.

While some insurance plans are expanding coverage, others are limiting coverage of weight loss medications. It’s crucial to monitor the supply of these treatments, as manufacturers may struggle to meet increasing demand.

In the realm of health-care technology, AI is making waves in the industry. Health-care companies utilizing AI are attracting significant venture capital investments, with one-fourth of health-care investment dollars going towards AI applications. Administrative uses of AI in health care are particularly popular, addressing the burden of paperwork and alleviating physician burnout.

Despite the promise of AI in health care, challenges remain in accessing quality data and computing power to train AI models effectively. Companies that can collaborate with clinicians, hospitals, and big tech companies are better positioned to deploy AI solutions at scale.

Overall, the integration of GLP-1 medications for weight loss and the advancement of AI in health care signal promising developments in improving patient outcomes and reducing administrative burdens in the industry.