UnitedHealthcare’s Chief Consumer Officer talks launch of UHC Hub

Steven Loeb · January 30, 2024 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/57e0

UHC Hub is a curated network of more than 20 health programs designed to reduce costs for employers

Last week, UnitedHealthcare announced a new platform, called the UHC Hub, a curated network of more than 20 health and well-being programs designed to make it easier for people to tap into health and well-being programs while helping reduce costs for employers.

Programs include healthy living, complex health condition management, and care resources, suchn as Brightside, Carrum Health, Healthy.io, Hinge Health, Maven, Noom, Podimetrics, and Virta. 

The platform is now available to large employers with self-funded health plans, which may enable organizations to save up to 15% compared to the typical cost of these stand-alone solutions. 

Samantha Baker, Chief Consumer Officer for UnitedHealthcare’s commercial business spoke to VatorNews, about why UHC Hub was necessary and what the company is hoping to gain from it.

VatorNews: What was standing in the way of employers purchasing programs and employees accessing them? What barriers do they face and how does the UHC Hub solve those?

Samantha Baker: To help improve the experience and satisfaction for employers and consumers, we consistently gather feedback to identify pain points and identify new ways to add value.

When we work with many employers, we consistently hear about the difficulties in evaluating and selecting health and well-being programs, as well as the administrative burden of managing multiple vendors and contracts. In short, employers have numerous stand-alone health programs to choose from, which requires time and effort to evaluate. Not only that, but we also know some of these solutions are often underutilized by employees, in large part due to lack of awareness.

The UHC Hub helps solve both of those challenges by streamlining the evaluation, selection, and management of various vendor solutions while making it easier for consumers to find and take advantage of the available resources. By and large, employers are inspired by the potential positive impacts on their workforces of offering health and well-being solutions, so the UHC Hub is an important step in helping organizations make the most of the resources they offer employees.        

VN: How both sides access the Hub and how do they use it?

SB: Available now, the UHC Hub offers a curated network of more than 20 health and well-being programs ranging from healthy living to complex health condition management and care resources. The UHC Hub is designed to help streamline the process for employers to identify, evaluate and purchase various vendor programs while simplifying how consumers access and engage with available resources.

For consumers, the UHC Hub provides an integrated, trusted source — accessible via advocates, myuhc.com and the UnitedHealthcare app — to find and enroll in available solutions that are designed to meet specific needs, such as nutrition, financial planning, starting or expanding a family, cancer care, and caregiving resources. When eligible members log into our website or app, they will see tiles displaying the health programs that are available to them. Likewise, when eligible members call our customer care team, our advocates can see what health programs are available and then encourage consumers to take the next steps to enroll.   

For employers, the platform enables UnitedHealthcare to handle (at no additional cost) procurement, vendor management and billing for selected third-party health solutions. The platform helps expand access to health resources through one buying process while complementing clinical programs from UnitedHealthcare and Optum that already offer consumers an integrated experience.

The platform and integrated infrastructure are now available at no additional cost to large employers (more than 1,000 employees) with self-funded health plans, enabling employers to select from the menu of vendor programs for purchase. 

VN: It says there a more than 20 health and well-being programs available. Can you name a few of them for me? Were these programs specifically chosen and, if so, what was the criteria for them to be included?

SB: We are working to expand the number and type of health solutions compatible with the UHC Hub. By the end of 2024, we anticipate integrating additional health and well-being solutions with the UHC Hub, expanding to offer resources focused on mental and behavioral health and specialized care.

There are a multitude of point solutions for employers to select from, so our goal was to do the research for them and provide a menu of quality options. As we evaluated the various programs in the market, we used multiple filters to help select the right solutions. Some of the criteria includes clinical quality, viability and efficacy, including reviewing data demonstrating results; ease of use for consumers, including satisfaction rates at or above industry benchmarks; value to employers, including results demonstrating a positive impact from health and financial perspectives. 

Through the UHC Hub, we are helping take the guess work out of researching which programs are effective, while enabling employers to make more informed decisions about the solutions that most likely appeal to their workforces. 

VN: What kind of ROI are you hoping to see for employers and employees who use UHC Hub?

SB: The UHC Hub will help reduces costs for employers by enabling them to save up to 15% compared to the typical cost of these stand-alone solutions. By handling procurement, vendor management and billing for the integrated third-party health solutions, the platform will also help reduce administrative burden and time spent by employers’ human resource departments evaluating, implementing, and promoting these health programs.

What’s more, by making it easier for consumers to find and enroll in various health programs, the UHC Hub will help employers maximize the value the investments they are making in these resources. 

VN: Is there anything else that I should know?

SB: It’s also important to note how the UHC Hub fits into broader advocacy solutions, which many employers are focused on as a strategic priority to maximize the value of their health benefits and improve the well-being of their workforces. In fact, many employers are citing advocacy solutions as the top priority when selecting health benefits.

The launch of the UHC Hub underscores the importance of advocacy solutions, while at the same time highlighting the value of offering consumers an integrated, simplified experience. By making it easier for consumers to understand and use their benefits, including tapping into relevant health programs, employers are better positioned to support the well-being of their workforces and help make health care more affordable.  

UnitedHealthcare customer care advocacy resources are available to employers that purchase the Core, Elite or Premier product offerings, which collectively support more than 15 million people nationwide. A UnitedHealthcare analysis of large and midsize employers found that the enhanced customer care resources reduced total medical cost of care by up to 4% while increasing enrollment in clinical programs and more effectively closing gaps in care.

UnitedHealthcare advocacy solutions are designed to help people make more informed health care decisions such as staying in network, assisting with hospital discharge planning and support, reviewing potential treatment and medication options based on coverage considerations, and more. These proactive support interventions resulted in fewer emergency room admissions and a decrease in 30-day and 90-day hospital readmissions, as compared to members without access to this type of support.

Partly as a result, UnitedHealthcare enhanced advocacy models have achieved overall member satisfaction of 93% and decreased call transfers by 50%. More information about UnitedHealthcare advocacy initiatives is available here

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