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.