Friday, May 11, 2018

UnitedHealthcare Donated Hasbro’s NERF ENERGY Game Kits to Dr. King Elementary School in Syracuse, N.Y.

UnitedHealthcare donated 100 NERF ENERGY Game Kits to elementary school students at Dr. King Elementary School in Syracuse, N.Y. to encourage kids to become more active. The donation is part of a national initiative between Hasbro and UnitedHealthcare, featuring Hasbro’s NERF products that are designed to get kids moving through “exergaming.”

Each kit features a NERF ENERGY Game Band, a NERF PRO FOAM soccer ball and instructions to download the NERF ENERGY RUSH mobile game. As kids participate in physical activity, they earn “energy points” that are tracked by the activity band, and these points turn into screen time to play the mobile game on a smartphone or tablet.

UnitedHealthcare is donating 10,000 NERF Energy Game Kits to elementary schools and community organizations across the country.

We distributed 100 NERF ENERGY Game Kits to students as part of an initiative between Hasbro and UnitedHealthcare to encourage kids to increase physical activity.  

Players from the Syracuse Silver Knights soccer team joined us to talk to students from Dr. King Elementary School about how they stay active and healthy.

From left to right: UnitedHealthcare SVP Don Napier, Silver Knights soccer player Slavisa Ubiparipovic, President and General Manager of Silver Knights Tommy Tanner, Silver Knights soccer player Bo Jelovac, and UnitedHealthcare of New York CEO Michael Mcguire with students from Dr. King Elementary School.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Walk Your Way to Better Health

Most people take walking for granted even though the simple activity can help improve overall health.

April is Move More Month, and UnitedHealthcare is encouraging people all across the country to walk more through the Step Up for Better Health Sweepstakes. On top of randomly awarding walking-related prizes to people who pledge to be more active throughout the month, UnitedHealthcare will also donate $25,000 on behalf of the first 25,000 pledgees to Boys & Girls Clubs.

So what exactly makes walking so great?

Studies have shown that walking can help reduce the risk of heart disease, improve blood pressure, enhance mental well-being, and help maintain a healthy body weight. It’s an incredibly accessible activity for people of all fitness levels and has been shown to have the lowest dropout rate among people who struggle with being more active.

Walking can also lead to a number of surprising benefits. A report from Harvard Medical School found that walking can help curb cravings for sweets, ease joint pain and boost immune systems. It’s the closest thing we have to wonder drug and can be done in short bursts or in more extended periods both indoors and out.

Spring’s warmer weather is a perfect time to step out, get a breath of fresh air and work towards the generally recommended 10,000 step total each day. Despite a light snowfall at the start of the month and rain earlier in the morning, folks from our NYC office stepped up on National Walking Day (April 4th) and walked  1.45-miles along the High Line. We’re planning to have a larger group join in for a walk along the same route in a few weeks to cap off Move More Month and our Step Up for Better Health Sweepstakes.

Our team behind this wonderful Step Up for Better Health initiative created 10,000-step walking maps in over 50 of the country’s largest cities. Visit to take the pledge and find a wealth of useful walking resources right at your fingertips. I can’t recommend it enough! 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Walk Your Way to Apple Watch with UnitedHealthcare Motion

Earlier this month, UnitedHealthcare announced that Apple Watch would be the latest device integrated into UnitedHealthcare Motion®, a digital wellness program that enables people to earn over $1,000 per year by meeting certain daily walking goals.

Eligible program participants will start receiving the world’s No. 1 smart watch in July, with full availability to all participants later in the year. Here’s how it will work:

  • People enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Motion will be able to receive and start using Apple Watch after only paying tax and shipping, with the option to apply program earnings toward the full purchase price of the device. 
  • Program participants will be able to own – with a zero balance – the device in as little as six months by meeting daily walking goals. 
  • After that, program earnings will be deposited into the members’ health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA) to help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses.

UnitedHealthcare Motion is available nationwide with some exclusions in certain markets. For New York employers with at least 100 employees, UnitedHealthcare Motion enables employees to earn up to $4 per day in financial incentives based on achieving F.I.T. goals. 

F.I.T. stands for frequency, or the number of times each day you are physically active; intensity, or periods of sustained, moderate physical activity; and tenacity, or achieving total daily activity goals like taking 10,000 or more steps.

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country already have access to wearable devices through wellness programs offered by UnitedHealthcare. Here’s a useful infographic with more info about the program:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Seven suggestions to help you get the most out of your health care benefits

Fully understanding how your health plan works can help improve your overall health, reduce your out-of-pocket costs and avoid surprise bills. Here are seven things you can do to get the most out of your health plan:

Learn the lingo – Make sure to understand basic health plan terms such as deductible, copay, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum. A recent UnitedHealthcare survey found that just 9 percent of Americans could successfully define all four of these important terms. Need a refresher course? If so, spend a few minutes to better understand common health insurance terms and your specific plan amounts to help you make more informed decisions.
Know what’s covered – You can usually find your coverage and benefits information on your insurer’s website or in plan documents so you know what’s covered and what’s not. Review this information before you start using your plan and receiving treatment so you’re not surprised by costs later.

Stay in network – Choosing doctors in your plan’s care provider network will most likely mean you’ll pay less. Also, check out 24/7 telehealth services. “Virtual visits” can help save you time and money by providing convenient access to care for certain medical issues including allergies, bronchitis and seasonal flu.

Save on medications Make sure your medications are covered by your plan, and ask your doctor about generics to see if there’s a more affordable and equally effective alternative. Also, getting prescriptions through the mail is often a good cost-saving option. Most plans enable you to order up to a three-month supply of medication you take regularly, sometimes at a discount. Your medication will be delivered right to your home, saving you a trip to the pharmacy.

Shop around and get cost estimates – Several health insurers offer online health care tools and resources that enable you to check on the quality and cost of health care services and care providers before you make appointments. Be sure to double-check the cost with your care provider before getting treatments, as prices can vary significantly for the same procedure within the same city.

 Take advantage of wellness programs – Many health plans offer discounts on gym memberships and provide financial incentives, some more than $1,000 per year, for completing health assessments, signing up for health coaching programs, lowering your cholesterol, losing weight, meeting walking goals or stopping smoking. Incentive-based wellness programs are designed to reward people for making healthier choices and being more engaged in improving their well-being. Some programs, including UnitedHealthcare Motion, include activity trackers that enable people to walk their way to improved health and up to $1,500 per year in incentives.  And others, like the UnitedHealthcare Healthy Savings Program provide monthly savings of up to $150 on healthy food items.

Look for medical grants Some charitable organizations offer child medical grants to middle- and low-income families who don’t qualify for Medicaid. For example, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) provides families with grants of up to $5,000 annually per child ($10,000 lifetime maximum per child). Recipients do not need to have insurance through UnitedHealthcare to be eligible. Since 2007, UHCCF has awarded more than 15,000 grants valued at over $40 million to children and their families across the United States. Families can read eligibility criteria and complete an online application at  

For more tips and easy-to-understand information about health care and health insurance, visit the UHC Newsroom.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

UnitedHealthcare now offering Healthy Savings® program to New York/New Jersey members

UnitedHealthcare is offering our New York and New Jersey members a new way to make healthy eating more affordable.

Starting today, we are offering the Healthy Savings® program to UnitedHealthcare and Oxford plan participants in New York and New Jersey. Healthy Savings, a program run by Minnesota-based technology company Solutran, Inc., enables UnitedHealthcare and Oxford members to save on healthier foods without having to clip, print, or download coupons. Each week, items are selected and available at a discount to members when they use their Healthy Savings card or free mobile app.
This program will help our members save more than $150 every month on their grocery budgets – and all they have to do is shop with an eye towards healthy foods! Here’s how it works: 

·         With Healthy Savings, there is no clipping, printing or downloading of coupons, as discounts are pre-loaded on accounts each week.

·         Users can scan their cards or mobile apps at checkout.

·         The discounts are instantly subtracted from their bill and are printed on their receipt.

·         Eligible participants can use the Healthy Savings program at any of the more than 180 Stop & Shop® and Western Beef® store locations.

According to America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report, 26 percent of adults in New York and 27 percent of adults in New Jersey are obese. Healthy Savings is designed to help people take steps toward a healthier diet.

UnitedHealthcare made Healthy Savings available last year to people enrolled in fully insured employer-based and individual health plans in parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia and Washington, D.C. To date, program participants have saved more than $1.4 million.
 You can learn more about this exciting new program by visiting or

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

UnitedHealthcare unveils signage on former POMCO building

UnitedHealthcare officially unveiled its new signage on the former POMCO building located at 2425 James Street in Syracuse’s Eastwood neighborhood at a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house.  Syracuse Deputy Mayor, Sharon Owens joined me and other UnitedHealthcare, UMR, community and business leaders for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Last year, POMCO was acquired by and became a part of UMR, UnitedHealthcare’s third party administration solution.  The UnitedHealthcare office will support the self-funded medical and workers compensation plans for 3.6 million UMR members across the country. It will also be home to UMR’s risk management team and UnitedHealthcare’s dedicated commercial sales team for Central New York.
UnitedHealthcare and POMCO's agreement to integrate their third-party administration (TPA) business means clients of both organizations will benefit from customized, affordable solutions to their medical and workers compensation administration needs.  Our open house welcomed insurance brokers, UMR clients, business and community leaders; giving everyone a chance to strengthen our relationships in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.

A big thank you to Mary Catherine Lopez, a senior at Solvay High School in Onondaga County and an accomplished piano player.  Mary Catherine played beautifully on the baby grand piano that currently resides in the lobby of our building.  We recently donated the piano to the Syracuse City School District and it will soon be available to the students at Fowler High School on the west side of Syracuse.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

UnitedHealthcare Community Care Award

UnitedHealthcare knows that the contribution we make in communities extends beyond the service we deliver to our members.  That's why UnitedHealthcare awarded $10,000 to Digital Hyve, a Syracuse, NY based small business, as part of our Community Care Award competition.  The competition seeks the best new idea for enhancing community health and wellness.

Businesses with two to 250 employees in Oswego, Onondaga, Cortland, Madison and Oneida counties submitted project ideas for enhancing their communities' health and wellness.  The entries were narrowed down to five finalists who were invited to present their project ideas to a panel of business and health care leaders.  All projects were required to include a partnership with a local nonprofit organization. The five finalists included:
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Digital Hyve
  • Metro Fitness
  • Mobile Health Appraisal Services
  • Seven Valley's Health Coalition
The winning project from Digital Hyve benefits the Food Bank of Central New York, a non-profit organization working to eliminate hunger through nutritious food distribution, education and advocacy.  Digital Hyve's project is designed to increase access to and utilization of the food bank's mobile pantry and raise awareness of the food bank among potential donors through the use of digital marketing platforms.  The project will take advantage of the food bank's first direct distribution model to bring mostly perishable food into areas of need.
Proud to present ceremonial check to Lynn Hy, CNY Food Bank and Jeff Knaus, co-founder Digital Hyve 

Local business, community and clinical leaders who served as judges for the competition were:
  • Mitchell Brodey, M.D., Family Care Medical Group, PC
  • Frank Caliva, senior vice president and chief operating officer, CenterState CEO
  • Andrew Gordon, senior vice president and chief human resource officer, Syracuse University
  • Nancy Kern Eaton, president, United Way of Central New York
  • Leola Rodgers, president and CEO,  Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc.
The judges had the toughest job of the night...selecting a winner!

Assemblymember Pamela Hunter, a dedicated public servant representing the 128th district of the New York State Assembly which includes Salina, DeWitt and Onondaga was on hand to congratulate the finalists and show her support of our inaugural event.
I'm joined by Assemblymember Hunter and UHC and UMR colleagues Camilo Barrera and Don Napier