Health Insurance Providers Leading Work to Advance Health Equity
WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 10, 2022 - Everyone deserves affordable high-quality health coverage and care regardless of the individual qualities that make us who we are, like our race, gender, disability, or health status. For years, health insurance providers have been committed to improving health equity and combating social factors, like food insecurity and poverty, that can have a negative impact on the health of the people and communities we serve.
“Health equity is about ensuring that every American has an equal opportunity to live up to their full potential and be as healthy as possible. No one should be denied that opportunity due to any social or economic circumstances. AHIP and its members will continue to take decisive action, collaborating with our partners and other leaders until every American has an equal opportunity for good health,” said Matt Eyles, AHIP President and CEO.
Health insurance providers are doing our part to improve health equity by addressing health care disparities; removing social barriers to good health; and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in health care organizations and workplaces. Here are just a few recent examples of health insurance providers in action.
Visit our health equity page for more information.
Diversifying the insurance sales workforce
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has launched a new initiative to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the North Carolina insurance sales workforce.
Working with local groups to reduce health inequities
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has partnered with Time Texas, a health advocacy organization, to support local organizations and agencies across the state focused on reducing social and health inequities, especially in communities of color affected by COVID-19.
Partnering with the fire and rescue service to proactively reach underserved communities
Care Oregon, working with Portland Fire & Rescue to support the Community Health Assess & Treat (CHAT) program, which is designed to be a proactive intervention, reaching community members in their time of need with 1-on-1 support from a medical professional.
Addressing oral health inequities and disparities
Delta Dental companies and foundations supported more than 1,300 programs in 2021 prioritizing people of color and low-income or uninsured individuals. Building a more inclusive pipeline of oral health care providers has been another critical priority. Only an estimated 3.8% of dentists identify as Black, yet a large body of research shows Black patients feel more trusting of Black health care providers.
The Delta Dental Institute also announced 3 new research awards to leading health research institutions to explore oral health disparities and access to oral health care. All 3 studies will assess opportunities to create more equitable access to care and reduce health disparities—areas that are always important but became even more evident and immediate during the COVID-19 crisis.
Funding oral health research to explore oral health disparities and access to oral health care
This funding is part of the Delta Dental Institute’s continued efforts to invest in research that leads to actionable solutions for improved oral and overall health. Harvard School of Dental Medicine, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, and University of Iowa researchers have received awards to pursue the following oral health care topics:
Expanding health and financial education to an underserved community
Highmark is working with the Thrive 18 project to improve health equity in Pittsburgh’s North Side. The project provides residents with health education, housing advice, financial stability, and connects residents to resources that are impacting individual health.
Partnering with a local university to reduce health care barriers in underserved communities
Inland Empire Health Plan is partnering with Loma Linda University to reduce barriers to health care services in marginalized communities. Inland Empire is training a new community health workforce to accomplish this goal.
Creating a new health equity department
L.A. Care has launched a new health equity department. L.A. Care earlier implemented an Equity Council to focus on equity issues involving employees, members, and its contracted provider network and vendors.
Bringing culturally appropriate care to underserved communities
Oscar Health’s Culturally Competent Care Grant program is focused on providing care to patients with diverse values, beliefs, and behaviors, including tailoring delivery to meet patients’ social, cultural, and linguistic needs.
Creating a health equity accreditation program
UPMC Health Plan has joined a National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) pilot program to develop a Health Equity Accreditation Plus evaluation program.
COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the persistent discrimination and systemic racism that have served as barriers to health equity, and health insurance providers will continue their work to fight racism and improve health equity.
AHIP is the national association whose members provide health care coverage, services, and solutions to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. We are committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that make health care better and coverage more affordable and accessible for everyone. Visit www.ahip.org to learn how working together, we are Guiding Greater Health.