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Tech enterprise drives healthcare ROI of 4:1

Tech enterprise drives healthcare ROI of 4:1 with virtual clinic for substance use management


lives covered


enrollment rate of eligible population


program completion rate


of enrolled members quit smoking


A large, multi-national information technology company is changing the world through data applications. With 60,000 employees, the company prides itself on supporting employees to be the best version of themselves.


This organization was seeing a significant amount of healthcare claims, related to substance use, and tobacco use specifically. The company offered incentives for non-smokers and was looking for a new solution that would not only support the member transition from smoker to non-smoker, but one that could potentially address additional substance use issues in the future.


The organization partnered with digital substance use clinic, Pelago, to launch a new, virtually delivered tobacco program to support members around smoking cessation. In one year, the program drove a 60% quit rate and delivered a 4:1 healthcare ROI.

Promoting treatment for tobacco use to support members who smoke

More than 16 million Americans live with a disease caused by smoking. On average, tobacco users cost employers $3,598 in excess healthcare costs per member per year. This cost skyrockets when multiple addictions are considered. The company began by tackling the issue of tobacco use in its workforce through its partnership with Pelago.

  • 70% of those with an alcohol use disorder are also addicted to tobacco
  • 22% of those with an opioid use disorder are also addicted to alcohol 
  • 18% of smokers have an opioid use disorder

The challenge

The company offers incentives for non-smokers and was looking for a program to support the member’s transition from smoker to non-smoker. The Benefits team reviewed several solutions but selected Pelago for its superior user experience and high-touch model, when compared to competitors.

Why they selected Pleago

  • Mobile app with unlimited 1:1 coaching
  • Connected carbon monoxide breath sensor
  • Customized course plan depending on type of nicotine and frequency
  • Personalized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy journey
  • Library of in-app content and interactive exercise
  • Ability to expand into alcohol and opioid solutions, for future benefits

The Pelago clinical care model

There are six key components of the Pelago program: 

  1. Physician-led care
  2. Licensed drug and alcohol counselors
  3. Medication fulfillment
  4. Cognitive behavioral therapy
  5. Social support
  6. Remote monitoring devices

Pelago implementation and rollout

Pelago is available to employees and spouses on the organizations medical plan. Employees self-attest at enrollment if they are a tobacco user and are given information on the Pelago program. Employees that participate in the contingency management program engage beyond the minimum requirements, demonstrating engagement levels equal to the engagement levels of non-incentivized employees.

Pelago Member

“I’ve been recommending the Pelago program to my co-workers. I was off last week, and when I came back to work, my coworkers asked what I did. I said, I quit smoking! Since 90% of my coworkers are smokers, they were amazed and wanted to know how I did it. Some asked for the name of the App.”

Sr. Manager, US Benefits

“Pelago has been an important benefit offering that has helped our employees return to a healthier version of themselves. We’ve been extremely happy with the program and are planning discussions on other programs with the potential to expand our Pelago benefit offering.”

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