Michigan Association of Health Plans

Taking an Organizational Approach and Long-term Commitment to Health Equity

This story is from United Healthcare. Read more here.

Differences in diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for those who face poverty, structural racism and discrimination continue to adversely affect individuals and communities across the United States.  The economic burden of these health disparities continues to rise and is now expected to cost the U.S. health care system approximately $320 billion annually.

The high cost of disease in some communities can be linked to structural inequities and biases, related to race, gender, and socioeconomic status. For example, people living below the poverty line are 50% more likely to have asthma than those with higher incomes. The disparity-driven cost associated with asthma spending equates to about 4.3% of the total asthma spend, or $2.4 billion per year.  The health and economic harm is significant.

Working to eliminate this type of disparity is core to our business, culture and fundamental purpose at UnitedHealthcare. We believe health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to achieve their full health potential. Our Health Equity Transformation Initiative (HETI) is committed to embedding health equity into our organization’s culture and practices. We will only be satisfied when every person, regardless of race, place, or circumstance, has the opportunity to live their healthiest life.

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