A Conversation with Nikki Bagby: Meeting People Where They Are

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"I know what it’s like to have a job but still have your needs go unmet. I have walked the path of so many of our members."

Nikki Bagby exemplifies UnitedHealthcare’s mission to help people live healthier lives every day. Her story is one of determination and transformation, first as a member of the community board for UHC, then as a UHC employee.

“[My husband and I] both worked, but we were the working poor,” Nikki says. “We couldn’t afford private insurance, but our kids qualified for Medicaid.”

Now she leads all Medicaid member outreach in Southeast Pennsylvania. She shows that it’s through empathy for other people’s situations—particularly as they face their own challenges and barriers—that provides the foundation for her work.

It’s not always easy for communities that have faced structural barriers to well-being: a lack of affordable housing, healthy food, and secure employment. “Companies that started as mom-and-pop shops are closing,” Nikki said.  “People [don’t know] what’s available to them. It’s very hard to help manage that, with people not being able to get full care or full access to resources that they need.”

But the work, for Nikki, keeps going. We had this conversation in the backroom of a warehouse where Nikki was helping pack up food for hunger relief efforts for Thanksgiving. “I just want to be a support system to our providers, our community partners and our state partners,” Nikki said. She also noted that her own six children are active in volunteering and giving back.

Read and see more about Nikki’s story—and the stories of other Community & State employees who work from the inside.