Payers, Startups

Propeller Health, Anthem BCBS join forces to aid Ohio COPD patients

Anthem Medicare Advantage members in Ohio with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will be able to use Propeller’s mobile app and its sensors that attach to inhalers.

A new collaboration between Madison, Wisconsin-based Propeller Health and payer Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield seeks to help improve outcomes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Through their agreement, Anthem Medicare Advantage members in Ohio with COPD will be able to use Propeller’s offerings. The program is only open to individuals who have had a minimum of one emergency room visit or hospitalization due to COPD.

Propeller Health provides sensors that can attach to inhalers. Said sensors are also paired with a mobile app so patients can track their medication use and gain insight into how to cope with their condition.

Additionally, Anthem’s care management team can use the startup’s provider portal to track members’ progress.

Throughout the rest of the summer, the insurer plans to start working with providers to begin enrolling eligible members in the program.

“We’re excited to partner with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio to bring the benefits of digital medicine to Anthem’s consumers who suffer from COPD,” Propeller co-founder and CEO David Van Sickle said in a statement. “The insights and feedback from our platform help people suffering from COPD control their symptoms and strengthen the relationship with their care providers.”

Back in May, the Wisconsin startup wrapped up a $20 million funding round. Aptar Pharma led the round with a $10 million strategic investment, and other participants included Social Capital, Hikma Ventures, 3M Ventures, Safeguard Scientifics and SR One. Propeller also inked a strategic partnership with Aptar Pharma at that time.

Other funding for the company includes a $21.5 million Series C financing round in 2016.

Plus, last November, Express Scripts signed a deal to give its members access to Propeller Health’s tools.

As for Anthem, it has collaborated with Walmart on an initiative that will allow Anthem Medicare Advantage members to use over-the-counter plan allowances to buy OTC medications and health-related items (like pain relievers and first aid supplies) at Walmart stores and on

Photo: Natee Meepian, Getty Images