Wednesday, August 30, 2017

$10,000 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 will award $10,000 to a Syracuse-area small business as part of our Community Care Award; a competition that seeks the best new idea for enhancing community health and wellness.  

New York businesses with two to 250 employees in Oswego, Onondaga, Cortland, Madison, and Oneida counties are eligible to submit a project idea for enhancing their communities’ health and wellness. Projects can be new ideas or existing programs. Businesses simply need to submit their project idea using the online application before midnight on Friday, September 29, 2017.

All projects must include a partnership with a local nonprofit organization. Applicants are asked to describe in 300 words or less the community activity their company will engage in with their non-profit partner, including description of project, duration and employee involvement.

Judges will evaluate the project submissions and select the top-five projects based on criteria such as potential community impact, creativity, uniqueness and feasibility.  

The top-five applicants and representatives from their benefiting nonprofits will be invited in November to a live pitch and networking event in Syracuse, New York where a panel of business, community and health care leaders will select the 2017 UnitedHealthcare Community Care Award winner.  

The 2016 UnitedHealthcare Community Care Award went to Simply Ballroom. A dance studio based in Richmond, Virginia.  Simply Ballroom used the $10,000 award to fund its therapeutic dance classes for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.  To review the official rules and apply for the award as a Richmond, VA business owner go to www.uhc.com/communitycare.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Call to Action: Consider Giving Back While Back-to-School Shopping

As families in New York and New Jersey start preparing for the end of summer and the start of another school year, I feel it’s important to talk about our friends at Operation Backpack and the generosity of New York Giant’s cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Operation Backpack, an initiative led locally by the Volunteers of America’s Greater New York chapter, is the largest back-to-school drive in New York City for students who are homeless. It’s an admirable organization that brings together thousands of people from dozens of local communities – all donating their time and resources to ensure every student, regardless of his or her economic standing, family background or hometown, will start the school year fully prepared to learn and succeed.
 
Last week my colleagues and I at UnitedHealthcare had an opportunity to work with the Volunteers of America to assemble hundreds of backpacks of grade-specific school supplies to support this initiative. Seeing the amount of donated supplies – from dictionaries and thesauruses to calculators and compasses; watercolor paint sets to washable markers – was inspiring, yet—at the same time—harrowing. The collective generosity of our friends and neighbors made me proud to be a New Yorker.
Team UHC is ready to stuff hundreds of backpacks full school supplies for homeless children.
 
Operation Backpack has been operating in the City since 2004, helping children from every borough start the schoolyear feeling prepared and confident. Today, with family homelessness at a record-high in New York City, it’s clear that their mission is more important than ever.

The need is also great in New Jersey.  On August 22nd a group of UnitedHealthcare employee volunteers helped the Dominique-Rodgers-Cromartie Foundation launch its inaugural Back-to-School Bash at the Boys & Girls Club in Clifton, New Jersey.  The carnival style event was kicked-off by Dominique's Father, Stanley Cromartie who, along with UHC volunteers, helped build excitement for the new school year.  More than 250 boys and girls rotated between interactive and mind stimulating games set-up around the Boys & Girls Club gymnasium.  Each student received free school supplies.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Stanley Cromartie and UnitedHealthcare's John Verga hand out school supplies to students at the Clifton, NJ Boys & Girls Club
As you and your family go through your Back-to -School shopping list, consider picking up a few extra supplies and donating them to the children in need in your community.  For a list of needed supplies, and to learn more about Operation Backpack, visit: https://www.voa-gny.org/what-goes-in-a-backpack

 
Students at Clifton Boys & Girls Club line up to answer health, wellness and science questions as part of the Back-to-School Bash sponsored by the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Foundation
 

 

Monday, July 31, 2017

12,000 New Yorkers Celebrate Healthy Living at Rally HealthFest

MOVE in a challenging spin class, high energy Zumba class or fun obstacle course; EAT a high energy bar and water infused with strawberries and mint; CARE for yourself by getting an upper body massage; FEEL by writing what you are grateful for on the Rally Grateful Wall and...HAVE FUN!  These were the challenges presented to 12,000 thousand New Yorkers who attended the second annual Rally® HealthFest held on Saturday, July 29, 2017, at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park. 
Hertz employee, Pernell Simpson and Elizabeth Zambrana get Moving at Rally HealthFest
 
Actor, comedian and Rally Health Ambassador, Kevin Hart hosted the family friendly event along with his personal trainer, Ron “Boss” Everline, and fitness star Robin Arzon.  The event was open to the public at no cost. UnitedHealthcare encouraged employees of clients with a UnitedHealthcare or Oxford health plan to take part in this day of health and wellness fun.  
Kevin Hart greets the Rally HealthFest participants
Rally, is a health and wellness portal that combines technology, gaming and social media to help people find personalized ways to eat better, move more, become more informed and improve their health. The customized portal is designed to motivate and empower people to take ownership of their health. The interactive experience includes:

  • a health survey that calculates the individual's “Rally age;”
  • tailored invitations to create personal missions based on the individual's Rally age;
  • a personalized health record;
  • rewards (“coins”) for completion of tasks or new behaviors, with the opportunity to use coins to enter sweepstakes;
  • social media and gaming that supports participation and builds community; and
  • a dashboard that showcases personal progress and content.
Users receive positive feedback in the form of “coins” for completing a task or changing to healthier behaviors. The coins can be used to enter sweepstakes.  

The Rally HealthFest aligns perfectly with UnitedHealthcare’s mission to help people live healthier lives. The HealthFest experience inspires people to actively engage in their health, individually and collectively.   Kudos to UnitedHealthcare and Oxford Rally members from JP Morgan Chase, Hertz, AIG and Jet Blue, who were among the thousands in attendance.  

Rally and other UnitedHealthcare tools are designed to help make managing your health and your health care plan easier so that you and your family can live a healthier, happier life!

Ingrid Martinez and "Team AIG" pause for a photo during Rally HealthFest
 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Not all HSAs are created equal

Recently released reports from Employee Benefit Research Institute and Morningstar found that many people don’t take full advantage of their health savings accounts (HSAs), that those who do could be getting a lot more bang for their buck and that some HSAs are better than others. 

A health savings account enables individuals to pay for their share of health care with pretax dollars, and by law can only be established in conjunction with a low premium, high deductible health care insurance plan.  Employees can save money in the HSA tax-free and draw it out anytime they want to help pay their health insurance deductible, co-pay and qualified medical expenses, including those, like dental and vision, that may not be covered by their health insurance plan. Unlike a flexible spending account (FSA), employees don’t have to spend what they put into an HSA by the end of the year, but can let it accumulate for future medical needs and if they change jobs, their HSA account is portable, which means they keep their account if they leave the company.

In 2017, people with an HSA account can choose to save up to $3,400 for an individual and $6,750 for a family (people 55 and older get to save an extra $1,000 which means $4,400 for an individual and $7,750 for a family) – and these contributions are 100% tax deductible from gross income.  People can spend the money in their health savings account on current medical bills or choose to invest their balance to pay for health costs in retirement. 

So why aren’t people taking full advantage of these accounts and what makes some better than others?  The answer to the first question can be summed up in three words – lack of information.  Trying to understand the many aspects of a HSA plan can be daunting.  That’s why UnitedHealthcare created HSACenter to help consumers become better informed.  The HSACenter includes video clips, interactive calculators to estimate health insurance savings, tax savings and future value with an HSA, an extensive FAQ, and list of qualified medical expenses.  

With regards to what makes some HSA plans better than others, this depends on how the account is used.  People who use their account to cover current medical expenses should look for an HSA account with a low monthly maintenance fee.  For people who view their HSA as a tax advantaged vehicle to save for medical expenses not covered by Medicare during their retirement years, Morningstar suggests they look at the variety of asset classes available, the quality of funds based on their likelihood of outperforming benchmarks and the total cost of the funds.  In this category, UnitedHealthcare’s Optum Bank was one of four accounts that received overall positive assessments based on the criteria used in the Morningstar report. 
 
Whether it is used to pay current medical bills or those in the future, health savings account plans give people an incentive and tools to better manage their health care costs. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Here we grow again

UnitedHealthcare held a ceremonial ribbon cutting celebration for its health benefits store in Westbury, Long Island last Saturday.

The center – located at 209 Post Ave. – will provide beneficiaries of Medicaid, Medicare and Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans and other health plans with support and information about their coverage options. Visitors will be able to meet with customer service professionals to discuss their health benefits in English and Spanish. If they are ready to enroll in one of UnitedHealthcare’s plans, they can do so at the store with the help of a licensed sales agent.  If they need help identifying state and federal programs to address any social determinants affecting their health, our staff can point them in the right direction.  In fact, representatives from the Nassau County Depart of Health attended Saturday’s celebration and provided information to those who wanted to learn more.

When trying to navigate what can be a complicated health care system, there is something to be said about in-person, one-on-one conversations, especially for our most vulnerable health plan members. That’s why – in addition to investing in our digital and online presence – UnitedHealthcare continues to grow its presence in brick-and-mortar health benefits storefronts across the country.  Our Westbury location benefits store is our fourth on Long Island.  We also have health benefits storefronts in Hempstead, Copiague and Riverhead.


Angelo Zuffante, sales and marketing manager, UnitedHelathcare Community Plan gets ready to cut the ribbon celebrating UnitedHealthcare's health benefits store in Westbury, Long Island.  Community leaders including Westbury Mayor, Peter Cavallaro, Nassau County Legislator, Siela Bynoe, Westbury Town Councilwoman, Viviana Russell, Tania Lawes, constituent services representative in the office of New York Sate Senator Elaine Phillips  and Village of Westbury Trustee, William Wise, were on hand to join in the celebration.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Day

UnitedHealthcare’s “whole person” approach to care means understanding how each individual’s circumstances in life impacts their health and care.  That’s why a group of UnitedHealthcare employees got together to make 4,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that would be delivered by St. Francis Food Pantries & Shelters to more than forty non-profit food pantries, soup kitchens, safe havens, drop In centers and shelters across New York City.

The St. Francis Food Pantries & Shelters is a network of food and service programs that provide a wide range of services to feed, clothe, counsel, and alleviate physical and emotional hunger in a dignified and supportive manner.  The St. Francis Food Pantries & Shelters takes a comprehensive approach in providing and supporting services that eradicate not only hunger, but the structural causes of hunger. The organization supports a network of charitable programs that provide a broad range of services for those in need, including the provision of food serving over 1.2 million meals each year.

Not only did our UnitedHealthcare employees make 4,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, they also learned a few things in the process.  For example, they learned that the trick to making the best PBJ sandwich is to put peanut butter on both sides of the bread and the jelly in between.  They were also proud of the fact that not only did they make 4,000 PBJ sandwiches for children and families in need across NYC, UnitedHealthcare also donated one dollar to St. Francis Food Pantries & Shelters for every sandwich made.

At UnitedHealthcare we know that make a meaningful contribution to health, we must work within the communities where we live and work. We thank St. Francis Food Pantries & Shelters and their team of PBJ experts for providing us an opportunity to do just that! 
Team UnitedHealthcare in action on "Peanut Butter and Jelly Day"



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Vacation Health Care Tips

Summer is here, and for many in New York that means trips to destinations domestic and abroad. An all-time record 234.1 million passengers are expected to fly U.S. airlines between June 1 and Aug. 31, up from 224.8 million a year ago, according to Airlines for America.

However, about 20 percent of people suffer some type of illness or injury while on vacation, the most common of which include food poisoning and car crashes. Before you hit the road or take to the skies, consider these tips to make sure your health, safety and wallet are covered while you’re away:

 
Know Before You Go:
Before traveling out of your home state or internationally, take time to review your health plan and understand what it covers. People traveling domestically should check if their health plan offers a national or local network of hospitals and health care providers, and confirm what level of coverage is available at out-of-network facilities.  For people planning to travel overseas, it is important to contact their primary care doctor or travel medicine clinic to determine what pre-screenings or immunizations might be recommended or required, based on their health history and the countries they will visit. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) enables people to search a list of countries and determine what vaccines they should consider.   
 Find Care Anywhere:
Many health plans now offer telemedicine and mobile apps that allow you to access a digital ID card, connect with a registered nurse 24/7, and identify nearby care providers, hospitals, pharmacies and urgent care facilities. Be sure you add the app to your phone before heading off on vacation. Public websites, such as www.uhc.com/transparency and www.guroo.com, enable people to compare cost information for hundreds of common medical services, helping people evaluate their options for care. For international trips, contact your global insurance carrier to find out about the availability of approved medical facilities at planned travel destinations.
 
Protection Abroad: Most domestic health plans provide limited coverage overseas, so consider purchasing international medical coverage to help alleviate concerns about quality of care and financial anxiety.  Also, most domestic insurance won’t cover prescriptions abroad, so for long vacations ask your care provider for enough medication to cover the duration of the trip (as well as check that specific medications are legal in the countries you are visiting). Some international health plans may include prescription drug coverage that enables people to fill prescriptions at local retail pharmacies.

Get Your Receipts: International hospitals will typically want upfront payment, rather than billing your health plan.  Be sure to get clear and complete copies of all bills, medical records and discharge notes for reimbursement from your health plan once you arrive home.

Following these tips will help you focus on fun, friends and family during summer vacations, while helping alleviate stress from health care access or insurance issues during a medical emergency. For more information, visit www.uhcsafetrip.com. 


Thursday, June 22, 2017

NYC vs. Long Island in the 22nd annual UnitedHealthcare Empire Challege

All-star football players from Long Island and New York City met on the Hofstra University football field last night for the annual UnitedHealthcare Empire Challenge.   The game began and ended with great plays and there was a lot of championship style football in between.  New York scored the first touch down of the game and won, 37-35, with a 33 yard field goal in final play of the game.
video

Both teams played well and in addition to proving the more than 8,000 spectators with a phenomenal game,  the 22nd annual UnitedHealthcare Empire Challenge also made a difference in the lives of thousands of children and adults battling cystic fibrosis.  Proceeds from the game go to both the local high school teams and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.   UnitedHealthcare is entering our sixth year as the title sponsor of the Empire Challenge and are proud to partner with the Boomer Esiason Foundation—an organization that shares our commitment to helping individuals, especially young people, live healthier lives.

UnitedHealthcare is committed to supporting critical health initiatives and the dollars raised by the UnitedHealthcare Empire Challenge provides financial support to research aimed at finding a cure for cystic fibrosis; a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, and 70,000 people worldwide.1  

Not only did the game recognize some of the best high school football players in New York, it also served as a reminder of the social and physical benefits of playing team sports.  By providing students the opportunity to play team sports, we help them better understand the importance of good health and wellness, and give them a head start on the path toward healthy living into adulthood.
 
In addition to thanking the Boomer Esiason Foundation, a big thanks goes out to Hofstra University, whose collaboration is critical to the ongoing success of the UnitedHealthcare Empire Challenge. Hofstra is our neighbor in Hempstead, Long Island; a community we support through our health benefits store-front office at 250 Fulton Avenue. Visitors to the office can meet with customer service professionals to discuss their Medicaid health benefits in English and Spanish. 
Boomer Esiason and Angelo Zuffante, UnitedHealthcare's Medicaid market lead for Long Island stop to pose for a picture before the big game.

The UnitedHealthcare Empire Challenge is a shining example of what happens when we all work together to make a real difference; helping people live healthier lives and making the healthcare system work better for everyone.

 1Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Having a flexible wellness routine just got easier

Sustaining a balanced lifestyle doesn’t have to be a difficult task.  No need to abandon your wellness routine when you are on vacation.  Instead look for opportunities to continue your workout in a different environment, with a different instructor or engage in something new.

The 5th Annual Hamptons Wellness Week lets you do just that.  Beginning on June 11th and continuing through June 18th, UnitedHealthcare in partnership with Hamptons Wellness Week is helping people stick to their routines by incorporating wellness into their vacation. The week includes a wide variety of physical and mental health activities, including everything from yoga in a garden to a master fitness class with a DJ. The week begins with a free community event on June 10th at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton. While there, guests will be able to sample healthy local eats, drinks, and product samplings.

The wellness programs that UnitedHealthcare offers mirror the principles of the Hamptons Wellness Week.  The Oxford Sweat Equity program allows for partial reimbursement for popular cardio workouts like CrossFit, Pilates, Pure Barre, TRX, and Zumba.  Our Oxford medical plan members generally can get reimbursed up to $200 of the actual cost of their qualifying fitness expenses in a six-month period. Their covered spouse, or domestic partner, generally can get reimbursed up to the lesser of $100 or the actual cost.

Another great example is UnitedHealthcare’s Rally, a digital health experience that offers personalized recommendations to help members move more, eat better, and feel great.   With Rally, UnitedHealthcare members can earn Rally coins when they complete their missions, complete a challenge – or for logging in once a day.  The coins can be used to earn rewards for all that good work! It’s a great way to experience the rewards of healthy living every day.

During Hampton’s Wellness Week, UnitedHealthcare will sponsor two unique yoga classes. The first yoga class will be on Sunday, June 11th and the second on Saturday, June 17th; for details on time and location visit www.hamptonswellnessweek.com.
 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Child Medical Grants Help Families in Need

Many families in New York face significant challenges when it comes to paying for child medical care costs. Not only are these families forced to make difficult financial decisions related to treatment for their sick child, but also what basic needs they can afford for the rest of their family.

 In response to this situation, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is offering child medical grants to help families pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their employer-sponsored health insurance plan.  To be eligible, the health plan does not have to be with UnitedHealthcare.

 UHCCF has already awarded over 13,000 grants to date valued at more than $35 million to children and their families across the United States, and aims to award its 20,000th grant by Jan. 1, 2020. But, to reach this goal we need to spread the word about our medical grant program so more families will apply and receive grants.  

In New York, the number of grant awards has been diminishing.  Last year we awarded 21 grants for a total of more than $48,000, down from 33 grant submissions in 2015 for a total of nearly $73,000.  Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant with a lifetime maximum of $10,000 per child to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids. There is no deadline to apply and families can review the full grant criteria and apply for grants online at www.uhccf.org  at any time.

I’m proud to say that the UnitedHealthcare’s commercial, Medicare and Medicaid teams here in New York did their part to contribute to the UHCCF.  In May we hosted a special “Night out with Our Heroes” fundraiser at Rock & Reilly’s Rooftop in New York City.  Nearly 300 "Heroes" joined me and Boomer Esiason, former NFL quarterback for the event that raised nearly $150,000.  On behalf of the UHCCF and the 13,000 families that have received a grant to date, I’d like to thank the small and large business owners, hospital and urgent care systems and UnitedHealthcare employees for their  attendance and donations.  Thanks to you, the “Night out with our Heroes” was a success! 
Boomer Esiason poses with UnitedHealthcare's New York Leadership; Chris Law, Bill Golden, Phillip Franz, Michael McGuire and Pat Celli during the UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation fundraiser

Monday, May 22, 2017

UnitedHealthcare Opens New Health Benefits Store in Syracuse

At UnitedHealthcare, we’ve worked hard to embrace new technologies and innovations that make it easier for people to lead healthy lives.

We’ve introduced tools like Rally, which helps you set health and wellness goals and rewards you when you succeed. We’ve embraced the trend of Virtual Visits, giving people the choice to address minor health issues by simply logging online. And we’re constantly updating our Health4Me mobile app, which puts your personal information and policy coverage in one easy-to-use space.

Indeed, I’d be the first to agree that these mobile tools are the future of the healthcare industry. However, no matter how far technology takes us, there will always be something to be said about in-person, one-on-one conversations, especially for our most vulnerable health plan members.

That’s why – in addition to investing in our digital and online presence – we’re also continuing to have a presence in brick-and-mortar health benefits storefronts across the country.  We recently opened our newest store in downtown Syracuse, New York.

 With scissors (l to r, center), UnitedHealthcare Executive Director Rupert Brady, Senator David Valesky, UnitedHealthcare Sales and Marketing Manager, Camilo Barrera and Councilor Khalid Bey are joined by UnitedHealthcare Mascot, Dr. Health E. Hound and UnitedHealthcare employees
The health benefits center will provide beneficiaries of Medicaid, Medicare and Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans with support and information about their coverage options. Visitors will be able to meet with customer service professionals to discuss their health benefits in English and Spanish – and, if they’re ready to enroll in one of our plans, we’ll have licensed sales agents on site to help them through that process. Our staff can also help identify state and federal programs to address any social determinants affecting their health.

UnitedHealthcare was one of the first health plans to provide health care services in storefront settings in neighborhoods across the country.  In 1994, we opened our first New York store in Manhattan’s Chinatown district. Since then, we’ve opened more than a dozen stores across the state – in Copiague, Hempstead, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Newburgh, Buffalo, Yonkers, and now...Syracuse.

With the addition of our newest storefront office, we are transforming the way we work to become a true partner in the care of our Syracuse members – and I look forward to seeing how they live healthier lives as a result.
The Scott-Lane family greet UnitedHealthcare’s mascot, Dr. Health E. Hound outside of the UnitedHealthcare Health Benefits center at 610 S. Salina Street

 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Citi Bike® 10x10x10 Challenge Presented by Oxford® Sweat Equity

In celebration of National Bike Month and the start of good cycling weather in New York City, CitiBike® is challenging its members to take 10 trips of at least 10 minutes in 10 days between 9 a.m. Sunday, May 14, through midnight Thursday, May 25. Everyone who takes part in the 10x10x10 Challenge will have the chance to win a Citi Bike prize package, which includes a backpack, bike helmet and T-shirt, along with a health and fitness-themed gift basket from UnitedHealthcare.

To enter the Challenge, follow the @CitiBikeNYC on Twitter or Instagram and respond to the prompt of “Who completed today’s 10x10x10 Challenge?” Respondents will receive one (1) entry. 

Citi Bike mmbers who are enrolled in an Oxford medical plan from UnitedHealthcare have an additional incentive to take on the challenge. The Oxford Sweat Equity program enables fully insured medical plan participants to earn up to $400 a year by participating in eligible exercise programs, including Citi Bike. They can receive $200 in reimbursements or the amount of their qualifying fitness expenses, whichever is less, during a six-month period. By taking the challenge, they boost their participation in the Sweat Equity program and earn dollars, as well as a chance to win the prize package.
     
The Oxford Sweat Equity program reimburses eligible health plan participants for at least 20 different types of exercises that promote cardiovascular wellness. Reimbursement is available to those who complete a total of 50 visits to a fitness facility, 50 exercise classes, or a mix of visits and classes that add up to 50 within a six-month period.

For additional information on the Oxford Sweat Equity program go to www.oxfordhealth.com.  To participate in the Citi Bike® 10x10x10 Challenge Presented by Oxford® Sweat Equity, grab a bike and start riding! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Affordable Housing Can Improve A Communities Health

One of the many reasons I am proud to work for UnitedHealthcare is our company’s commitment to helping thousands of Americans live healthier lives.  This commitment extends beyond the services we deliver to our members and includes seeking out ways of responding to social needs like affordable housing.

Earlier this month I joined a host of community leaders, housing developers and formerly homeless New Yorkers for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Gouverneur Place in the Bronx. Gouverneur Place is a 68-unit affordable housing complex that integrates high-quality housing with supportive services. We congratulated and welcomed the residents, toured the grounds of the complex, and delivered welcome baskets, prepared by local UnitedHealthcare employee volunteers, which included a warm blanket, kitchen supplies, grocery gift cards and other household items. 
 
UnitedHealthcare employees assemble welcome baskets for residents at Gouverneur Place
affordable housing community in the Bronx.
This seven-story community is being applauded as a model public-private partnership. The State of New York and UnitedHealthcare were among the largest investors in the $20.7 million development, which features a mix of studio, 1- , 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, and onsite amenities that include a computer lounge, community room, supportive services, laundry room, bike storage and outdoor courtyard and recreation area.   

The primary reason UnitedHealthcare invests in projects like this is simple. It’s just the right thing to do. Everyone deserves a roof over their head.  No matter who you are or where you grew up; no matter your income, your economic standing or your job status, you deserve a chance to live in secure, healthy, and affordable environment. You deserve a home. 
 
Michael McGuire, CEO for UnitedHealthcare in New York, delivers welcome basket to
Gouverneur Place resident Maria Perez
But it’s not just a “good deed.” It’s also a business decision. Affordable housing has clear implications on health. When individuals and families are spending the bulk of their income on housing or are living in local shelters, they have a difficult time accessing other basic needs like healthy food, education and healthcare. As the health insurer of nearly 4 million New Yorkers, UnitedHealthcare is in the business of keeping people healthy – and providing folks with safe, affordable housing goes a long way in achieving that goal. 

Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare has invested more than $350 million to help build affordable community developments throughout the United States. These developments provide both affordable housing opportunities and individualized, targeted support services for low-income individuals and families, including seniors, veterans, people living with disabilities and people struggling through homelessness.

You can learn more about the Gouverneur Place and catch up on UnitedHealthcare’s other projects by following us on Twitter, @UHC, or visiting our website: www.uhc.com.
 
Community leaders, affordable-housing advocates and key investment partners celebrate the opening of Gouverneur Place Apartments.  L to R:  Jeffrey Dansler, resident; Tiffany Sims, Westhab; Bob Greco, Rende Contracting Corp.; Horace Bush, resident; Saky Yakas, SLCE; Dawn Miller, resident; Moira Tashjian; OMH; Kristina Reed, resident; Budd Isaacson, OMH; Richard Nightingale, Westhab; New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson; Mark McIntyre, NYC OER; Greg Watson, NY HCR; Dan Magidson, Enterprise; Michael McGuire, UnitedHealthcare.  Photo Source:  Colin Sussingham
 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Move More Month

April is Move More Month”, and at UnitedHealthcare, we are literally “walking the walk”.  We began on April 1st in New York City’s Central Park joining more than 4,700 runners at the annual Boomer's Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe. Former NFL quarterback, Boomer Esiason began his fight against cystic fibrosis when his son Gunnar was diagnosed with the disease and has hosted this for the past seven years.  UnitedHealthcare is a proud sponsor and I was joined by more than a dozen UnitedHealthcare employees who walked or ran in support of this important cause.
The American Heart Association established “Move More Month” as a way to encourage individuals, schools, workplaces and communities to get out and walk and put themselves on the road to better health.
 Most people know walking is good for their health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity – or an equivalent combination each week.

 Research has shown that walking can improve people’s health by helping them maintain a healthy weight, prevent and manage conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, strengthen bones, ward off depression, and improve balance and coordination. And new technologies such as activity trackers – coupled with incentive-based wellness programs – may make walking even more fun, social and rewarding.

These innovative approaches are urgent because, according to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. A McKinsey report suggests the nation loses $225 billion in lost productivity each year due to personal and family health problems. In New York, 25 percent of the adult population is considered obese with a body mass index of 30 or more, according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings. What better reason and more social way to help people get moving and on track for better health than to literally take that first step?
 
To celebrate National Walking Day, on April 5th, UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm launched a “1 Billion Step Challenge.” For people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Motion™, an employer-sponsored wearable device wellness program, we challenged them to walk, in aggregate, 1 billion steps. To make it a bit easier, we developed an online map that takes users on a walking tour of 26 of the largest cities across the United States, 10,000 steps at a time. Why 10,000 steps? That’s the number of daily steps many health experts recommend people take to help avoid a sedentary lifestyle. The interactive rollover map highlights the health benefits of walking a minimum of five miles each day (approximately 10,000 steps), and helps people visualize what that distance looks like in 26 cities nationwide, including New York. For example, in NYC, 10,000 steps is approximately the distance between the Chrysler Building on Lexington Ave and Times Square.  The map is available online at www.unitedhealthcaremotion.com.

 An estimated 70 percent of employers already offer wellness programs, and 8 percent more plan to do so during the next year, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Employers nationwide are expected to incorporate more than 13 million activity trackers into their wellness programs by 2018, according to technology consultancy Endeavors Partners. That’s important, considering a study in Science & Medicine showed people tend to overestimate how much exercise they get each week by more than 50 minutes, and they underestimate sedentary time by more than two hours. People who use wearable devices may be better able to monitor and hold themselves accountable for their physical activity.

 In New York, employers and employees can enroll in UnitedHealthcare Motion, a wellness program in collaboration with Qualcomm Life that links financial incentives to the use of activity trackers. By meeting walking benchmarks related to frequency (300 steps in five minutes; six times a day), intensity (3,000 steps in 30 minutes), and tenacity (10,000+ total daily steps), program participants can earn financial incentives of up to $1,500 per year.

I doesn’t matter if you walk, run or jog, we encourage all New Yorkers to put on their sneakers, hit the pavement and experience the many health benefits of moving.