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Health Insurance Providers Launch Project Link to Address Social Barriers to Health

Press Release

Published Jun 20, 2019 • by AHIP

Industry-wide initiative will work to ensure that solutions for social determinants of health are scalable, sustainable, and deliver real improvements

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Not every health care problem can – or should – be addressed with a prescription pad. That’s why America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is launching Project Link – a new initiative that brings together the best thinking on how to effectively address social barriers to health and long-term well-being.

A person’s health is influenced by many factors outside of health care – including the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age. In fact, studies have shown that more than 70% of a person’s health can be linked to factors other than medical care. As the largest advocacy organization for insurance providers nationwide, AHIP is uniquely positioned to convene health care leaders to help American families and communities overcome social barriers that stand between them and better health.

We all have a responsibility to create social and physical environments that promote better health for all Americans,” said Matt Eyles, president and CEO of AHIP. “Project Link solves for this disconnect, bringing us together with a collective vision for enhancing quality of life, improve community health and reduce long term costs.

A Board-Level Commitment

Solutions to overcome social barriers are often an integral part of the business strategies of health insurance providers. A 2018 survey found that 80% of health insurance providers now integrate social determinants initiatives into their programs for the people they serve.

It’s a key reason why AHIP’s Board of Directors has charged AHIP with focusing on addressing social barriers as an essential part of the industry’s long-term vision for improved health and financial security for everyone the industry serves. Project Link is a central part of this directive.

What Is Project Link?

Project Link will bring together health insurance providers from different markets and geographies to address an array of issues impacting all Americans, from housing to healthy eating to transportation. It will establish clear, collective strategies and goals for insurance providers, ensuring new programs addressing social determinants of health are scalable, sustainable, and measurable in improving health and affordability for everyone. Using Project Link as our foundation, AHIP will develop research and policy agendas at both the state and federal level to improve the health, well-being, and financial stability for consumers, patients, and taxpayers.

At UCare, we know the health of our members is directly impacted by conditions where they are born, grow, work, play and age,” said Ghita Worcester, senior vice president, public affairs and chief marketing officer, UCare. “We also recognize the need to tailor health improvement programs to meet the needs of all our members. Partnering with individuals and their diverse communities on solutions is fundamental to our mission of improving the health of our members through innovative services and partnerships across communities.

Components include:

  • A new learning collaborative for insurance providers to discuss emerging issues related to social barriers and social determinants of health.
  • A new Project Link Website, which will spotlight research, insights, and case studies so that insurance providers, community leaders, and consumers can get the best thinking on what’s working.
  • New partnership opportunities for health insurance providers to come together with other organizations to help our communities overcome social barriers to good health.

The announcement was made during the 2019 AHIP Institute and Expo, the association’s flagship event focused on the newest ideas for improving health care. AHIP Institute features approximately 50 thought leaders telling their stories of how they are addressing social barriers to help people, families, and communities get healthier faster and stay healthier longer.

More information about Project Link, including case studies from AHIP members, can be found at:

About AHIP

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is the national trade association representing the health insurance community. AHIP’s members provide health and supplemental benefits to millions of Americans through employer-provided coverage, the individual insurance market, and public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. AHIP advocates for solutions that expand access to affordable health care coverage to all Americans through a competitive marketplace that fosters choice, quality, and innovation. Visit for more information.