Advocating for employees every step of the way

UnitedHealthcare Advocacy CEO Rebecca Madsen shares why advocacy can lead to better health outcomes and lower costs for employers.

By Rebecca Madsen, CEO of Advocacy for UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual

Navigating health care can be confusing, time consuming and stressful for employees and their family members. Understanding where to turn for the next step isn’t always clear, especially with a new or complex diagnosis. That’s where Advocacy comes in.

At its most basic level, Advocacy is really about helping people — and helping them make informed decisions. The goal is that those informed decisions lead to better health outcomes and lower costs, which matters to employees and employers. In fact, our Advocacy program has led to a 91% satisfaction rating1 and $72M in cost savings2 for employers and employees.

The power of Advocacy

Offering employees a highly personalized member experience

Built on a foundation of unmatched data and insights, our Advocacy approach enables employees to get the most out of their benefits whether they are having a 1-on-1 conversation with an advocate, a program nurse or a coach, or whether they are using our online or mobile tools. In other words, Advocacy supports both human and technological interactions to deliver better health outcomes and more seamless connections to providers.

Here's how: UnitedHealthcare advocates pair 1-on-1 interactions with data and insights to build a more comprehensive picture of an employee’s health. We take the data and use it real-time to not only understand different employee populations but to drive actions and behaviors within that group — and we are really doing all of that in the best interest of the member. We want to anticipate their needs and bring forward the next-best actions or solutions, such as clinical interventions and well-being programs, before they even know they need it. We continue to look for opportunities to deepen our capabilities for greater personalization and customization.

Helping employees find quality care through a whole-person approach

Our advocates are not only responsible for helping employees find quality care, whether that’s by recommending cost-efficient sites of care or providers who have a history of delivering quality outcomes at lower costs, but they also go a step further.

With compassion, they really focus on treating the whole person, not just the issue at-hand. That includes one’s physical, mental, social and financial health. The truth is you can’t separate clinical, behavioral or the everyday needs that people have from how they’re feeling mentally and how they’re feeling about their health overall.

Our advocates look across all touchpoints, coordinating an employee’s needs across medical, pharmacy, behavioral health, vision, dental and financial programs. This holistic view helps us identify the best action for the member and simplify their overall benefits experience.

Advocates also help identify members with social determinant of health (SDOH) needs, such as lack of access to affordable housing, nutritious food or transportation. With predictive analytics, our advocates can flag members who may have an SDOH need and connect them with community-based help and resources. In fact, nearly 70% of offers for SDOH support from our advocates have been accepted.3

Enhancing the Advocacy experience

Moving forward, we are making further investments in Advocacy to deliver more thoughtful, human-centered interactions, proactive guidance and coordinated connections across an employee’s health care experience.

We’re using our expertise, scale, insights and compassion to support employees with a simpler health care experience that also delivers value to our clients by:

  • Increasing advocate training and quality oversight
  • Integrating data, AI, benefits and point solutions into an advocate’s dashboard to give them a more complete picture of an employee’s health and enable them to provide timely recommendations based on their specific needs
  • Providing enhanced, concierge-like resources and quicker issue resolution for employees who are dealing with unique health situations
  • Supporting employees through the prior authorization process more proactively to ensure they get the care they need
  • Enhancing our digital and mobile app experience with intuitive navigation, push notifications, comprehensive self-service capabilities and the integration of benefits and point solutions
  • Enabling advocates to directly search and book appointments for employees

Advocacy is all about caring, and it’s crucial to the next evolution of health care. Our goal is to connect humanity and action to make sure our members feel supported. That matters, and we know that matters to employers.

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