posted by Alicia Caramenico
on March 31, 2016
Health plans are increasingly turning to partnerships with stakeholders across the health system in an effort to help transform the health of the communities they serve.
One of the most important partnerships health plans have is with primary care providers. In fact, without health plans, primary care providers wouldn’t be able to undertake the important transformation of moving from volume-based care to value-based care. Health plans often invest with primary care providers in helping them transform their practices and move toward systems that reward the value delivered to patients. The Patient Center Primary Care Collaborative publishes an annual review of initiatives in this area and documents the significant improvements in cost and quality made by health plans and their provider partners.
The real payoff of these initiatives for patients and communities is that health care providers are not only rewarded for better care, but they also have the tools and resources to deliver better care.
Health plans’ involvement in their communities goes even deeper, with health plans often being among the most involved corporate citizens. Many health plans develop partnerships with local nonprofits, like the YMCA and others, to help educate consumers about insurance options available to them and potential subsidies, as well as to support and encourage healthy lifestyles.
Health plans are also often leaders of public health initiatives, working with local government and universities. For example, many health plans have immunization awareness and reminder programs to make sure people are getting needed vaccines. Companies take different approaches, including mailings, text reminders, mobile vans, and community events to get the word out – but every health plan is involved in this critical public health effort.
Many times, health plans’ involvement in the community extends beyond physical health, to also include the emotional health of members of the community. For example, Highmark sponsors a tremendous initiative called Highmark Caring Place to serve children who experience the death of a parent or other family member. Available at no cost to all members of the community, the Caring Place provides peer support and professional counseling to children and their families. Highmark supplies financial resources as well as volunteers to the program.
Next time you participate in a health fair, community fun-run or walk for cancer research take a look around. Chances are your local health plan is helping lead the way.
To learn more about opportunities to forge relationships among insurance, provider, community, and public health, join us at AHIP’s Institute & Expo, June 15-17, in Las Vegas.