Guardian and Pelago forge partnership to pioneer tobacco-free initiatives in workplace benefits

Guardian and Pelago forge partnership to pioneer tobacco-free initiatives in workplace benefits

Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, a prominent player in the insurance sector, and Pelago, a leading digital clinic partner to U.S. businesses and health plans, have recently announced a groundbreaking partnership.

This collaboration is primarily aimed at supporting a tobacco-free lifestyle among Guardian’s members through innovative, digital healthcare solutions.

The partnership is designed to assist Guardian members who are part of workplace-sponsored dental insurance programs. With Pelago’s expertise, these members will benefit from a comprehensive tobacco cessation program. This initiative includes access to a dedicated Pelago care coach, personalized tracking tools, cognitive behavioral therapy content, and nicotine replacement therapy if required.

Guardian, a stalwart in providing insurance solutions, is taking a pioneering step by integrating tobacco cessation services into its dental benefits—making it the first dental insurer to do so. Pelago, on the other hand, brings to the table its vast experience in digital health solutions aimed at substance use management, particularly focusing on supporting individuals through their journey towards a tobacco-free life.

This collaboration is timely and significant, considering the health implications associated with tobacco use. According to the American Dental Association, tobacco is a leading cause of preventable diseases in the U.S., and smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease compared to non-smokers. The broader health impacts of tobacco use are profound, as evidenced by Guardian’s Ounce of Prevention report, which highlights the detrimental effects of poor oral health, including its adverse impact on mental well-being.

In addition to supporting adults, the partnership extends its benefits to children. Guardian’s commitment is reflected in its offerings like the Early Smiles™ program and now, the extended tobacco cessation support for dependent children aged 15 and older. This is part of Guardian’s broader strategy to enhance oral and overall health across various age groups.

Jill Purcell, Head of Dental and Vision Product and Network Management at Guardian, emphasized the transformative potential of this partnership. Purcell said, “Choosing to reduce or eliminate the use of tobacco can be a life altering decision. But, the road to quitting can be difficult. Whether it is our member, their children, or another covered family member leveraging the cessation program, Pelago’s services will help us be a better resource to individuals as they make daily well-being and lifestyle changes in pursuit of a tobacco-free life.”

Pelago’s CEO and Co-Founder, Yusuf Sherwani, M.D., said, “While overall tobacco usage rates have declined, usage remains stubbornly high among workers in certain industries.

“With many employees getting dental benefits through their workplace, employers have an outsized opportunity to influence cessation efforts, employee well-being, and cost savings. Especially for small and mid-size businesses who might otherwise not be able to afford a stand-alone program, we’re excited to partner with Guardian to offer effective substance use management through our tobacco cessation support and include it as part of workplace-sponsored dental benefits.”

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