The Foundation Of Good Health Lies Outside Of The Doctor’s Office

posted by AHIP

on February 20, 2020

Food security to housing: Health insurance providers address health equity.

Up to 80% of health outcomes can be linked to a person’s environment. For example, patients who experienced food insecurity were more likely to visit the emergency room, according to a 2019 McKinsey study.

Health insurance providers understand the tremendous impact that social factors have on health. Addressing these social determinants at the community level – such as reliable transportation and safe housing – can lay the foundation for people to thrive and communities to prosper.

See how some health insurance providers are supporting organizations that work in the community to make sure people have what they need to be safe, fed, and sheltered:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina invests in healthy, safe, and sustainable housing in collaboration with Community Home Trust, an organization that supports permanently affordable housing in communities in Orange County, North Carolina. The project will fund needed renovations such as upgrading and cleaning HVAC units and ducts, as well as make improvements to fire safety and lighting that will make the community healthier and more safe.

In Pittsburgh, UPMC Health Plan announced the launch of UPMC Social Impact, an ambitious initiative that will leverage utilization and outcomes data to identify opportunities to address social and economic needs and improve health outcomes – both for their members and as a function of corporate social responsibility.

Cigna increases access to mental health care by enabling virtual phone or video visits with network of providers. Via MDLIVE, members in remote locations can easily seek treatment for anxiety, depression, and other conditions privately and at their convenience  – all of which helps lessen the stigma often associated with mental health treatment

These aren’t simply feel-good initiatives. While it does feel good to help communities in need, it is also practical to focus on making sure people are safe, fed, and sheltered. In a world where clinical care only accounts for 20% of health outcomes, we have to meet the health needs at the community level.

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