There is increasing evidence that certain communities may be disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This is largely due to various systemic health and social inequities that may put these communities at higher risk of contracting the virus. For example, research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that African Americans and Latinos are three times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19.
“As the nation’s largest health insurer, we understand and take seriously our role to advance health equity,” says Dr. Anne Docimo, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been working with government agencies, community organizations and our provider network to improve access to care and remove obstacles to getting the vaccine.”
Some of the efforts include:
Vaccine scheduling and transportation resources
Many vaccine scheduling systems are only available online, which means you have to have internet connectivity and access to a computer or smart phone to make an appointment. UnitedHealthcare’s care management and outreach programs are removing that barrier by helping Medicare and Medicaid members sign up for an appointment and assisting them with transportation and community resources. In fact, the team has scheduled thousands of vaccine appointments to date and continues to assist Medicare and Medicaid members who have yet to be vaccinated — including those who are homebound.
In many markets, UnitedHealthcare is working closely with community health workers, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and other local organizations to help reach vulnerable populations. Some of those organizations include the National Hispanic Council on Aging, Black Coalition Against COVID-19 and National Councils on Developmental Disabilities.
Building vaccine confidence
Several of UnitedHealthcare’s outreach efforts are building vaccine confidence and supporting access.
- STOP COVID helps expand access to health and social services, including COVID-19 testing, health and safety kits, food boxes and more.
- The Vaccine Community Connectors pilot aims to help enable the vaccination of 2 million seniors age 65+ in America’s most at-risk and underserved communities. The initiative focuses on answering questions about the vaccine and providing scheduling and transportation support.
These efforts reflect UnitedHealthcare’s belief that every person should have access to the care they need regardless of their race, age, level of education, gender identity, sexual orientation, job status, where they live or their disability.
For more resources regarding COVID-19 vaccines, click here.