When it comes to the choice of health care insurance this open season, consider potential advantages that come with a carrier’s scale and breadth, advises Tiffany Martin, director of consumer brand partnerships at UnitedHealthcare.
“We touch virtually every aspect of the health care system,” Martin said. “And that creates a lot of opportunities for people, employers and organizations to collaborate with us to achieve a shared vision of a more modern and efficient health care system.”
The term “consumer brand partnerships” isn’t necessarily on people’s checklists when comparing plan and coverage options available through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. But Martin said that it should during the Federal News Network Open Season Exchange 2022.
UnitedHealthcare fitness partnerships
UnitedHealthcare’s partnerships add some attractive benefits to its plan holders, she pointed out. For instance, last year UnitedHealthcare partnered with the online fitness company Peloton.
“It’s been so popular and valuable that we’re expanding into year two, and we’re super excited about that partnership,” Martin said.
Members get a year-long subscription to Peloton via its smartphone app. That gives participants access to a variety of fitness classes, both on and off a stationary bike and tread. A subscription to Apple Fitness+ is also available, she said, bringing video and audio workouts that include meditation. Both apps have features for people to tailor workouts to their goals and track their progress.
“Both of these offers are really designed to help UnitedHealthcare members prioritize their well-being through access to engage in content that really meets their interests, fitness level and location,” Martin said.
Expanded UnitedHealthcare telehealth options
UnitedHealthcare is also responding to the popularity of telehealth. The demand for virtual visit options has grown rapidly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — and has not waned.
“We’re starting to see that telehealth really has staying power so far,” Martin said. “In 2022, we’ve seen a 17-times increase in the use of virtual care among our members, compared to before the pandemic.” She cited surveys showing that 90% of Americans want to continue using telehealth for nonurgent needs going forward.
“Here at UnitedHealthcare, we hear that, and we’re trying to expand more into virtual care for delivering care to people,” she added.
The field of virtual care is sparking the development of peripherals that, coupled with online devices such as smartphones, can send remote practitioners detailed patient information, such as heart rate, blood pressure and other vital data.
“We have a vision of bringing all of that together,” Martin said. “We’re focused on creating a more coordinated, connected and personalized health system.”
Given continued requests from members, UnitedHealthcare has invested $5 billion in data technology to help expand virtual care services, she said. Efforts include capturing biometric data from peripherals such as Apple watches “and integrating it into our platforms to make it more accessible for our providers” to improve care and outcomes, Martin said. Providers can access dashboards that give what Martin described as a 360-degree view of a patient’s health.
Digital health resources aren’t confined to virtual visits, Martin noted. Some services help plan members navigate their way to the health care they need.
“In these models, we actually use predictive personalization to anticipate a caller’s needs, and then connect the member with the right advocate to best support them,” she said. “Our members have access to this type of enhanced advocacy model, which better supports health and the experience all around.”
To learn more about programs available to UnitedHealthcare FEHBP members, check out uhcfeds.com as you’re looking at benefit options during open season, which runs through Dec. 12 at midnight EST.