Health equity means helping people be the healthiest they can be. It also means getting rid of inequalities, or unfair differences, in how people are given health care. These inequalities are also known as health disparities.
Health disparities can be based on a person’s:
- Other traits
UnitedHealth Group has worked for many years to reduce health disparities. Learn about how we’re doing this with the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.
Health Equity Services Program
In 2010, we created the Health Equity Services (HES) Program to help find and reduce health disparities. The HES Program does this by making our initiatives work better for many different cultures. These initiatives encourage members to be as healthy as they can be, and help members avoid more expensive health care costs.
To accomplish this, our HES Program focuses on 4 important actions:
- Collecting data to better understand our members and their cultural characteristics. Cultural characteristics can include a person’s traditions, attitudes, values and ideas.
- Finding gaps in our members’ health and health care so we can provide better programs.
- Improving how we work with members based on their demographics. Demographics can include a person’s age, race, ethnicity and language.
- Working with many different cultures to improve all of our members’ experiences.
Innovation in Advancing Health Equity Award
The National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of 420 large U.S. employers, honored UnitedHealth Group (UHG) at the National Business Group on Health’s April 2018 Business Health Agenda conference with their “Innovation in Advancing Health Equity Award”. UHG received the award based on our work to capture social determinants of health (SDOH) and other non-traditional data to integrate care and connect members with services. Current initiatives focus on the Medicare population and integrating SDOH data for a more complete view of a member’s needs, to match members with government and community resources that improve care outcomes and provide whole person support. UHG is also working to make recommendations to the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid to expand the diagnostic code set (ICD-10) to include social determinants such as lack of transportation, food insecurity, and utility and telephone assistance.
The Centers for Disease Control gives these examples of health disparities:
- Non-Hispanic black adults are at least 50% more likely to die of heart disease or stroke prematurely (before age 75) than non-Hispanic white adults.
- Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks and people of other mixed races have a higher rate of diabetes than Asians and non-Hispanic whites.
- Non-Hispanic blacks have more than double the infant mortality rate than non-Hispanic whites. Infant mortality is when a baby dies before his or her first birthday. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths that happen for every 1,000 babies born alive.
- In 2010, larger percentages of Hispanic and African American adults between 18-64 years old didn’t have health insurance than white and Asian/Pacific Islanders of the same age who didn’t have health insurance.
These are just a few of the health disparities found in the world’s diverse population. Learn more about health disparity statistics at the CDC websiteOpens a new window.
Diversity in Changing Communities
UnitedHealth Group believes strongly in meeting the health care needs of each member we interact with, see, hear from or treat with care made just for him or her.
The population of the United States is becoming more diverse. People with multicultural backgrounds are contributing to this change. To better serve our diverse members, we are developing and providing programs and services that reflect their cultural and language needs. Our hope is that these services can improve the quality of health and health care for all our members.
Asian American Markets
Our Asian American Markets team works to fix health care problems so we can meet each of our member’s needs. We also try to help our members:
- Understand their health plans
- Know their health risks
- Be as healthy as they can be
To do these things, we use programs, tools and services that use and understand Asian American cultures and languages. This helps us better connect with our members. Learn more by visiting the UnitedHealthcare Asian American websiteOpens a new window.
Hispanic Member Service
We provide free services to help you communicate with us. Such as, letters in other languages or large print. Or, you can ask for an interpreter. To ask for help, please call the toll-free phone number listed on your ID card, TTY 711, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m or 888-383-9253.
Members Sharing Race, Ethnicity & Language (REL) Information
We give our members the opportunity to share their Race, Ethnicity and Language (REL) information with us. This helps us better understand their health care needs. Knowing our members better means we can provide them with more personalized health care services. Learn more about our REL Collection & Use efforts.
Health Literacy (Language)
Health literacy is how well a person can read, understand and use basic health information and services to make the appropriate health decisions. Health literacy and health equity work together to improve people’s health and health care.
Visit the Just Plain Clear® GlossaryOpens a new window to find simpler alternatives to complex health insurance and health care terms.
Diversity & Inclusion
Every day we work with and talk to communities, individuals, families and employers to:
- Encourage healthy living
- Prevent disease
- Improve quality of care and how well that care works
We know that every one of our members has his or her own needs. And we're committed to making products and services that help meet those needs.
We promise to help diverse communities through our Diversity & InclusionOpens a new window programs. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) members, we offer the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association provider searchOpens a new window.