Anthem will offer new coverage of a telehealth program proven to help people reduce or stop drinking. The program is offered by Ria Health, who is partnering with the insurer as a specialty provider, according to a press release announcing the news.
San Francisco-based Ria Health is a telehealth company that specializes in alcohol treatment, largely for women. Meanwhile, Indianapolis, Indiana-based Anthem is one of the country’s largest insurance plans.
The move comes shortly after a study demonstrating the effectiveness of Ria Health’s program was published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
According to the study, those who stayed in the program for 90 days saw a 50% reduction in baseline blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. Much of the success of the program lies in its model, the researchers concluded.
“Although other alcohol-reduction apps have shown promise from scientific evaluations, the [Ria Treatment Platform] appears to be the only app that incorporates physician-prescribed medication and a recovery coach,” they wrote, though noting the need for more comparative research.
The Ria Treatment Platform (RTP) allows users to access physicians and recovery coaches through a smart phone application, which also allows for video monitoring of medication adherence and Bluetooth-linked breathalyzer tracking.
Another study showed that Ria patients decreased alcohol consumption by 66% after six months in the program — and increased sober days from 1.8 to 4.2 days per week.
In its partnership with Anthem, Ria will primarily focus on reaching women, who make up more than 60% of its current members, according to the press release announcing the news.
“Telehealth meets women where they are, so they can continue to be active with their families, work, and communities,” Tom Nix, CEO of Ria Health, said in the press release. “Many people are unaware that medication combined with counseling and support is a clinically effective way to help people who want to address alcohol misuse by cutting back or stopping completely. This is what Ria continues to provide with staggeringly successful results.”