Monday, September 30, 2013

Health Care Reform: What’s All the Buzz About?

Beginning on October 1 and through 2014, some of the most significant components of health care reform will take effect across the country. So it makes sense that many people are trying to figure out exactly what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will mean to them. The new law is changing how people get health care, how they get insurance, what it costs and who pays for it…hence, all the buzz.

Over the next few months, consumers and businesses alike will be facing a lot of new decisions and asking lots of questions about their health care like what's changing, and what's staying the same? Should I sign up for a different plan, or keep what I've got? If I need health insurance, how and where do I get it?

My goal over the next few weeks is to help you find answers to your questions and get the health care coverage that best suits your needs.

At UnitedHealthcare, we believe that when information helps to simplify the decision making process, its better.  And better information leads to better choices. So check out some of the information we’ve made available.  From a ten minute guide on health care reform to videos that explain why it matters, I think you’ll find the information in the links below helpful as you begin your decision making process.

The Facts Behind the Buzz

Keeping it Simple

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

UnitedHealthcare volunteers rebuild Union Beach playground damaged in Superstorm Sandy

Swings, a triple racer slide, monorail zip line and a rock climbing wall – what more could a kid ask for at the local playground?

It’s exactly what the children of Union Beach asked for in the new playground at Scholer Park, built by UnitedHealthcare volunteers and KaBOOM!, a nonprofit that builds playgrounds to encourage kids to play outdoors.

As you may recall in my July 12 blog, UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well.” employee volunteer initiative teamed up with KaBOOM! to build a new playground in Union Beach, NJ to replace the one destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.  During our Design Day, we asked local students to submit drawings of their dream playgrounds and incorporated their wishes into the final design.

Very early on the morning of September 17th, more than 200 volunteers including UnitedHealthcare employees, local high school students, community organizations and KaBOOM!,  gathered to get to work, building a brand new playground from the ground up.  By 2:30 p.m. we unveiled the major structures for the brand-new playground which would be finished, inspected and ready for Union Beach kids to run, jump, swing and play on by the end of the month.

Volunteers helping each other assemble the playground equipment
 Like many New Jersey communities, Union Beach is working hard to recover from the damage of Superstorm Sandy and still has a long road ahead.  But the new playground is a step in the right direction, giving kids an active outdoor play area in their community.  I’m certain the residents of Union Beach will enjoy it!

We thank our UnitedHealthcare volunteers for helping to
rebuild a playground for the Union Beach community 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Injured veterans ride to New York and through New Jersey

“I was an avid mountain biker before joining the Army and didn’t know if I would ever ride again after losing both of my arms below the elbow.  Ride 2 Recovery changed that by building a one-of-a-kind bike with electronic shifting and modified braking, which enabled me to return to mountain biking and ride 100 miles through the Colorado Rockies.”
            - Retired Cavalry Scout Matt DeWitt of Weare, NH

Matt DeWitt symbolizes the physical and mental injuries sustained by the men and women who serve our country in combat, and how cycling with Ride 2 Recovery can help them heal.

Ride 2 Recovery is a nonprofit organization that aims to help injured veterans heal and recover from their wounds by getting them involved in the physical and mental challenge of long distance bike riding.  With a variety of training programs ranging from indoor spinning training at military installations to multiday, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery adapts bikes to fit the needs of each veteran, including using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional road bikes.

Many of you may remember that I wrote about riding with the Ride 2 Recovery group last year for a portion of the 330-mile Minuteman Challenge that began in Boston and ended in Fort Lee, New Jersey.  This year, I am again riding alongside these veterans during the New Jersey portion of their ride.

The riders started out on their 425-mile journey in Boston on September 8 and traveled south through Providence, R.I.; Hartford and Danbury, Conn.; Newburgh, N.Y.; New Jersey and ended the ride on September 14th in Philadelphia.  On Friday, September 13th we left Ft. Lee, New Jersey and cycled to New York City for a celebratory breakfast at the world famous Macy’s on 34th Street.  It was a heartwarming experience as so many New Yorkers en route to work and UnitedHealthcare employees from our NYC office came out to cheer on the veterans.

Ride 2 Recovery long-distance journeys are not races.  Instead, the focus is on riding together, supporting one another along the ride and fostering camaraderie among the riders.  After 425 miles together, the friendships formed last long after the journey is over. 

No man or woman was left behind in the 425-mile ride
from Boston to Philadelphia

I’m proud to say that this is the fourth year in a row that UnitedHealthcare has served as the Ride 2 Recovery’s title sponsor, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to help America’s injured veterans.  And this isn’t the only way we help veterans.  In 2012, UnitedHealthcare joined the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of major U.S. corporations that share the goal of hiring 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020.  UnitedHealthcare also partners with a variety of organizations to help military and veteran job candidates such as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, RecruitMilitary and the Wounded Warrior Project.

I am honored to have cycled with and met these extraordinary veterans, America’s Finest, and want to thank all of those who serve our country.  I look forward to riding again next year! 

The 6th annual Ride 2 Recovery Minuteman Challenge
making its way through New Jersey