Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic is downplaying how much glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists alone will fuel growth of the digital health company’s weight management program.
In April, Teladoc announced plans to prescribe certain medications including GLP-1s and offer weight-management services. But while some telehealth companies are betting heavily on GLP-1 prescription treatments, Teladoc has seen a mixed reaction from its employer and health plan customers, Gorevic said.
“We are seeing some employers that say we're all in on GLP-1s,” Gorevic said at investment bank Piper Sandler’s healthcare conference Tuesday. “We see others saying, ‘I'm terrified of the long-term cost of these medications.’”
Gorevic said Teladoc’s employer and health plan customers recognize that GLP-1s are not a cure-all for weight management problems and the costs of the drugs is unsustainable. Popular GLP-1s such as Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy can cost more than $10,000 per year per individual, according to an analysis from digital health and drug pricing company GoodRx.
Cost is one reason some insurers and employers are limiting access to the medications, even as demand soars. Around 85% of employers said they are worried about the long-term financial implications of GLP-1s and other weight management medications, according to an August survey from the Business Group on Health.
Insurers and employers are looking for companion programs to help wean people off the medications, Gorevic told analysts.
“I talk to CEOs all the time who are saying they expect their costs for GLP-1s to double or triple next year, and that just isn’t sustainable,” he said. “They're coming to us for the broad set of capabilities that we have as a companion to [enable a] shorter duration on GLP-1s.”
An October survey of employers by digital health company Accolade found that insurance coverage of GLP-1s could increase to 43% next year, from 25% this year. The vast majority of employers—81%—said their employees would be interested in getting coverage for the medication.