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