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Costco members can now sign up for weight loss programs that can include access to GLP-1 medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Saxenda. Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Costco says the company will be partnering with Sesame to offer weight loss services.
  • Costco members will pay a discounted price for a three-month subscription.
  • The program covers everything needed except the cost of prescriptions and labs.
  • Experts say Sesame can make healthcare more affordable and convenient.
  • However, those without insurance may still pay high prices for their medications.

Costco has good news for those who would like to use the weight loss medications Ozempic (semaglutide), Wegovy (semaglutide), and Saxenda (liraglutide).

Starting April 2, 2024, the members-only wholesale club will be teaming up with telehealth provider Sesame to offer its members specialized care for weight loss.

Members will have access to the program for an exclusive price of $179 for a three-month subscription, during which Sesame estimates people will lose about 5% of their body weight.

Patients will continue to be billed every three months for the duration of their subscriptions.

According to reporting by USA Today, Costco originally formed its partnership with Sesame last fall when it began offering its members $29 primary care visits and $79 mental health sessions through the telehealth platform.

Members were also given access to virtual checkups with a standard lab panel and physician consultation for a fee of $72.

USA Today quoted the co-founder and CEO of Sesame, David Goldhill, as saying that the addition of weight loss services came as a result of patient inquiries and Costco’s realization that there was a strong demand for this type of service.

Kubanych Takyrbashev, MD, Health & Wellness Advisor at NAO, who is not affiliated with Sesame, described Sesame as being a low-cost partner that functions as an online platform connecting patients with healthcare providers.

“It provides various services, including telemedicine consultations and prescription fulfillment, making healthcare more convenient for individuals,” he explained.

Takyrbashev said that once people are registered with Sesame, they can browse available services and schedule appointments with providers through the website or mobile app.

According to Sesame’s website, patients in the weight loss program go through a virtual consultation with a physician.

They are also provided with any lab orders they need, and they can contact their doctor at any time through Sesame’s messaging system.

They keep costs low by not accepting insurance for the cost of the weight loss program.

The cost of medications — which Sesame says can run between $950 and $1,600 without insurance — is not included in the subscription.

However, they can assist patients with obtaining preauthorization from their insurance.

If you’re not already a Costco member, the first step in obtaining discount pricing is signing up, either through their website or at your local store.

Once you’re a member, there’s no need to visit the Costco warehouse for healthcare services.

“Sesame is an online platform, so everything happens on the site,” said Nancy Mitchell, a registered nurse and a contributing writer at Assisted Living.

“New Costco users will need to create an account using their Costco membership credentials, but from there, it should be an easy process,” she said, “even for the less tech-savvy individuals.”

You can access Sesame’s dedicated Costco platform to activate your account.

Once you’ve activated your account, you can visit their website at any time to access your desired telehealth services, including weight loss.

“Leveraging Sesame’s low cost model means that Costco members can benefit from more affordable prices for GLP-1 prescriptions compared to traditional healthcare avenues,” said Takyrbashev.

“This affordability aspect can be particularly crucial for individuals managing chronic conditions like diabetes, where medication costs can be a significant financial burden.”

Takyrbashev also pointed to the convenience of using Sesame’s online platform compared to traditional healthcare visits.

“Patients can schedule appointments and fulfill prescriptions entirely online, eliminating the need for in-person visits to healthcare facilities,” he stated.

Takrybashev said this is especially valuable for seniors and those with mobility issues who might find it difficult to visit their doctor on a regular basis.

However, it should be noted that not everyone may realize significant savings if they are purchasing the Ozempic brand of semaglutide.

Sesame emphasizes that they do not include any medication discounts in their subscription weight loss service. The patient must bear any costs not covered by health insurance.

Since Ozempic is approved only for type 2 diabetes treatment, those using it for weight loss alone will likely find that their insurance does not cover the cost.

One carton of the drug, which contains one pre-filled 2-mg pen, costs $1,014.00 at Costco.

Wegovy and Saxenda, on the other hand, are FDA-approved as obesity treatments, making it more likely that health insurance will cover the cost.

Costco has announced that it is teaming up with telehealth company Sesame to offer its members a discounted rate for Sesame’s subscription weight loss program.

This fee covers an online consultation, insurance coordination, orders for any needed lab work, the prescription, a customized weight loss plan, and ongoing support from a physician. The cost of medications and lab work are not included.

People need to be Costco members to take advantage of the lower rate.

Telehealth weight loss programs like what Sesame provides can make treatment more affordable and convenient.

However, some may find that certain medications like Ozempic are not covered by their insurance.