NIH Partners With WellCare And Wellth For New Program That Rewards New York Medicaid Members For Managing Hypertension

NEW YORK and TAMPA, Fla., Jan.
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NEW YORK and TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) announced today it is working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to partner with Wellth Inc., a behavioral economics company, to help motivate at-risk Medicaid members in New York to adopt healthy behaviors and adhere to care plans to better manage their hypertension.

Through the partnership, WellCare and Wellth aim to enroll at least 200 participants who are currently prescribed medication for hypertension. Using the Wellth smartphone app, members enrolled in the program are reminded to take their medications each day, and certain members are eligible to earn financial rewards in the form of gift cards for adopting healthy behaviors such as low-sodium diets and adhering to their daily prescription drug regimens.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates non-adherence causes 30 to 50% of chronic disease treatment failures and more than 125,000 deaths in the United States each year," said Dr. Richard Petrucci, WellCare's chief medical officer in New York. "At WellCare, we're honored to work with the NIH and to partner with Wellth to help our members address their hypertension, adhere to their care plans, and improve their overall health and well-being."

"We are excited to partner with WellCare to help motivate and incentivize Medicaid members in New York to adopt healthier behaviors to better manage their hypertension," said Matt Loper, CEO of Wellth. "Ultimately, we hope these behaviors will stick, leading to higher engagement, better health outcomes and lower costs."

The program, which was co-designed by behavioral economist Uri Gneezy and doctoral candidate Alicea Lieberman, runs through August 2020. Upon program completion, NIH, which is funding the program, will review all program results. Study outcomes will provide a better understanding of how mental accounting and targeted financial incentives that leverage behavioral economics can be used to design effective adherence interventions.

"We are honored for the opportunity to partner in this innovative program to support adherence to member hypertension care plans," said Angel Ballew, vice president, pharmacy clinical programs. "We hope this program will give insight into additional opportunities for us to start using behavioral economics to a greater extent to motivate members' adherence to their daily health regimens."

As of September 30, 2019, WellCare serves approximately 304,000 members in New York, including 151,000 Medicaid members, 88,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 64,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members.

About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses primarily on providing government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, as well as individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplace. WellCare serves approximately 6.4 million members nationwide as of September 30, 2019. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at

About Wellth Inc.

Wellth is a digital behavior change company that motivates patients to adhere to their care plans using scalable, evidence-based strategies from behavioral economics. Our mission is to empower people living with chronic conditions to make healthy choices every day, driving better clinical outcomes and lower costs of care for health insurers and providers. Our advisory board includes former CEOs of the American Diabetes Association and American College of Cardiology, and we have been recognized with digital health innovation awards from the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, Heritage Provider Network, and Accenture. Wellth is based in both New York City and Los Angeles. For more information about Wellth, please visit the company's website at

Disclaimer: Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R41AG056184. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.