- MDLive, the telehealth provider Cigna acquired last year, is adding a chronic condition management program to its virtual primary care offering starting in 2023.
- Nearly 17 million people with MDLive Virtual Primary Care as a covered benefit through their health plan or employer will have access to the new program, MDLive, which is part of Cigna’s health services arm Evernorth, said Monday. That’s roughly a fourth of all members with access to at least one MDLive service line as a covered benefit.
- Initially, it will be available for patients with hypertension, but will expand throughout the year to other common chronic conditions.
MDLive has been able to support patients with chronic conditions before through virtual primary care, but the new capabilities are more robust and structured, a spokesperson told Healthcare Dive.
MDLive is the latest telehealth provider to add a chronic condition management program as virtual care vendors hustle to build out their offerings in the pursuit of whole-person care. In an early move, telehealth giant Teladoc acquired chronic care management company Livongo for $18.5 billion in 2020, and now touts its chronic care business as a key driver of future revenue.
Employers have become increasingly interested in plans with virtual benefits, especially for low-acuity primary care services, resulting in a rash of offerings from payers. Proponents of hybrid models say technology can be used to expand access to preventative care and screening, hopefully preventing downstream health complications.
Cigna began offering virtual-first health plans to select employers for the first time this year. The plans include a $0 co-pay for access to MDLive primary care providers, chronic condition management and care navigation.
UnitedHealth rolled out a a virtual-first primary care product by the end of last year, combining its Optum physician network with payer arm UnitedHealthcare’s network offerings. Last October, Teladoc made its virtual primary care pilot broadly available to commercial health plans, employers and other benefit sponsors nationwide.
In addition, CVS Health is rolling out a new virtual care platform in partnership with Amwell — including remote primary care and chronic condition management — that will launch for Aetna members next year.
Evernorth finalized its acquisition of MDLive last April, acquiring the telemedicine provider in part due to its growth amid the virtual care boom spurred by COVID-19.
Cigna has been increasingly leaning on Evernorth to drive revenue growth, embarking on a series of M&A to expand its offerings to help Cigna’s health plans, along with third-party payer clients like Centene and Kaiser Permanente.
Evernorth includes businesses like pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, specialty pharmacy Accredo and medical benefit manager eviCore.
Last week, Evernorth invested $2.5 billion in Walgreens-backed VillageMD’s $9 billion acquisition of medical group Summit Health, attracted by the potential of shared savings arrangements in the commercial space. Evernorth, which will have value-based contracts with VillageMD as part of the partnership, expects to incorporate MDLive into the shared savings arrangements, to try to drive consumers to its lower-cost virtual care options.