Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Year Ahead

As 2014 begins, I have to take a quick glance over my shoulder at 2013 and declare it…The Year of Change.  While UnitedHealthcare has been preparing for the Affordable Care Act since 2010, in New Jersey, we felt as if all of the changes were happening overnight when we decided, and then worked out the process, to allow New Jersey small business owners to keep their 2013 health plans.  In New York, we were excited about our participation on the New York State of Health Exchange.

2013 “pumped up the volume” on all things health care related.  From cost containment to consolidation of health care providers to information technology, the overriding theme for us in 2013 was redesigning how health care is offered and delivered to improve quality.

Even before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, UnitedHealthcare was at the forefront of change.  So it seems appropriate that we kick off the New Year by participating in the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week and announcing a new online health care shopping service, myEasyBook. 

myEasyBook enables consumers to make appointments online with a click of a mouse and compare in-network care providers in multiple specialties, providing discounts of 30 percent or more compared to average out-of-pocket expenses for health care services. Consumers are able to search by specialty, location and appointment date, and compare cost information for each health care provider, giving consumers a more accurate picture of expected out-of-pocket expenses and potential savings. The service enables health care professionals to attract new patients and fill gaps in their daily schedules, while also getting paid up-front for their services and helping to reduce administrative and billing expenses.

CES attendees who visit the UnitedHealthcare booth can interact with a wide range of innovative health tools, including:

Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program: The NOT ME Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program (VDPP) is the online version of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), an evidence-based group lifestyle change program that helps people at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes prevent or delay the disease through modest weight loss via healthy eating, increased physical activity and other lifestyle changes. The VDPP was recently named an International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree in the “Technology for a Better World” category.

DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition: A collaboration with Konami is bringing DanceDanceRevolution (DDR) Classroom Edition, to another school. Konami is the wildly popular dance game that has shown to encourage physical activity among adults and children. The participating school will use the game to track its impact on students’ health, well-being and exercise habits. The collaboration last year brought DDR Classroom Edition to schools in Longwood, Fla.; Gainesville, Ga.; and Fresno, Texas.

Renew (formerly NOVU): Renew inspires and rewards UnitedHealthcare plan participants for taking care of their health and wellness by giving them points toward healthy products, raffles and local deals.

WellView: WellView automatically aggregates disparate data including electronic medical records from physicians, personal health records, health care expenses, health plan balances and more, all in one place. WellView also offers helpful tools such as online appointment scheduling, provider search and a symptom checker to help improve the experience for consumers and get them to the right resource sooner.

UnitedHealthcare’s technology and innovative collaborations showcased at CES make it easier and more fun for people to become active participants in managing their health.  And it’s a pretty good way for consumers to get to know more about us.

Happy New Year!