U-Haul, Quartz Health Solutions, and 70+ Other Major Payers Partner with Virta Health to Fight Back Against Obesity Epidemic

Published on 
May 18, 2023
April 26, 2024

"Our team members who participate in Virta achieve outstanding weight-loss results without the exorbitant expense." — Jessica Lopez, Chief of Staff at U-Haul

Type 2 diabetes reversal leader Virta Health reported substantial growth of its obesity solution over the last three years. Today, the company partners with more than 70 employers and insurers—such as U-Haul and Quartz—that offer Virta’s provider-led weight loss solution in addition to diabetes reversal.

Since expanding to address prediabetes and obesity in 2020, demand has accelerated. Currently, 20% of customers offer Virta’s weight loss solution, and 15% of Virta members are being treated specifically for obesity.  This growth coincides with skyrocketing obesity rates in the U.S., alongside rates of comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

Classes of drugs like glucagon-like peptides (GLP-1s) are now being prescribed specifically for obesity, and show strong clinical promise. Yet, these drugs are expensive and may need to be taken in perpetuity, creating a cost tsunami for payers and patients alike. In a recent New England Journal of Medicine piece, researchers estimate that if even a small fraction of older adults with obesity start taking these new drugs, it could cost Medicare up to $27B per year.

Virta offers a cost-effective alternative that delivers significant, comparable results. Similar to its type 2 diabetes and prediabetes reversal offerings, Virta’s obesity solution helps members lose weight safely and sustainably through virtual, provider-led support and personalized low-carb nutrition. 

In the company’s clinical trial, completing patients with obesity and prediabetes saw on average 13% weight loss at one-year—more than double what is considered clinically significant—alongside metabolic health benefits such as lower blood sugar and improved cardiovascular markers. 

Major health plans and employers like U-Haul are partnering with Virta for both the clinical results and value-based payment model, where fees are tied to outcomes such as clinically-significant weight loss.

"Obesity is one of the most significant contributors to our healthcare costs and, like many Americans, members of our team struggle on their health journey because of it," said Jessica Lopez, Chief of Staff at U-Haul. "Our team members who participate in Virta achieve outstanding weight-loss results without the exorbitant expense. It was an easy decision to provide our team with this incredible program."

For members, Virta’s approach offers an alternative to invasive options like bariatric surgery and weekly injections, often with life-changing results. 

Linda Hodges: “For decades, I had tried everything to lose weight. Bariatric surgery was next—I had even signed up for the procedure. Then I found out about Virta. Since then, I’ve lost 65 pounds, while reducing my medications. I can finally fit comfortably behind the steering wheel in my car and put the tray table down on an airplane. It feels like a miracle.”

Dan Brown: “I lost 30 pounds on Ozempic, yet I still couldn’t get my blood sugar under control. And I hated the injections. Since starting Virta, I’ve lost 110 pounds and reversed my diabetes, while eliminating Ozempic and several other diabetes medications. Plus, I’m walking 8-10 miles per day. These are results like I’ve never seen before, and never thought I would.” 

Health plan executives and employer benefits leaders can learn more about the rise in GLP-1 drugs for weight loss and alternative provider-led lifestyle programs, like Virta, in our free June 14 webinar. Register here.

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