In our previous blog, we underlined on how COVID-19 has exposed the healthcare faultlines as health inequity flourished amid a raging pandemic.
In the second blog of our four-part series, we are giving a rundown on some of the initiatives taken by major health insurance providers to address Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and eliminate health disparities.
Cigna Gives Access to Education
To achieve greater health outcomes overall, the Cigna Foundation launched an Education and Workforce Development grant program in May. Education and workforce development grants will support students enrolled in Pre-K, grades K-8 and high school, as well as post-secondary and adult education. The Cigna Foundation will also provide support to nonprofits that provide programming to increase the cultural competency of health care professionals by helping them better understand and address health disparities among vulnerable populations. In 2021, the Foundation plans to award over $3 million in grants to support non-profits and community organizations focused on addressing challenges of overall access to care, treatment, and medications. Opportunities to apply for this grant program will be available throughout the year. Grants will be awarded this July.
Humana Strikes Childhood Hunger
Humana Healthy Horizons has forged a new partnership with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. Providing a $1.75 million investment, Humana will work with No Kid Hungry to sustain healthier communities through grants to schools and community organizations, along with food, education and resources needed to address childhood hunger. Through this new “Family is More” initiative, the two organizations will work with school districts to provide meals to kids and equip multi-generational families with food and nutrition education to support healthy eating and wellbeing.
The Humana Foundation is investing $5.4 million in 8 communities across the southeastern United States to address social determinants of health on a local level, helping more people achieve health equity as part of its ongoing Strategic Community Investment Program. Through partnerships with local organizations and community members, The Humana Foundation’s Strategic Community Investment Program creates measurable results in some of the most common social determinants of health, including post-secondary attainment and sustaining employment, social connectedness, financial asset security, and food security. Humana has committed $1.5 million in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to address social determinants. Humana’s investment will also promote equity and inclusiveness to empower youth to reach their full potential.
Anthem Focuses on Social Isolation, Food Insecurity
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri has announced $450,000 support of Southeast Missouri Food Bank and Aging Ahead that will help acquire more food and organize more distribution events for the many families in southeast Missouri and the St. Louis area facing hunger. Nearly 1 in 6 Missouri residents lacks reliable access to healthy food – according to data available at “Close to Home,” a social driver of health information tool available through Anthem. By addressing both social isolation and food insecurity through their partnership with Aging Ahead, Anthem will help ensure individuals and their caregivers in St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin counties are not forgotten. The three-year agreement will provide over 7,500 meals annually to homebound older adults, virtual and in-person programming, newsletter distribution, and social media outreach to thousands.
Centene Facilitates Telehealth Access
Centene is working with Samsung Electronics America to expand access to telehealth for individuals living in rural and underserved communities. The initiative will supply providers with Samsung smartphones to disseminate to patients who would not otherwise have the ability to receive their health care virtually. Additionally, some providers will receive Samsung tablets to use to conduct telehealth visits. With this initiative, Centene and Samsung will deploy 13,000 smartphones, with 90 days of free wireless service, to approximately 200 federally qualified health centers, other providers, and community support organizations throughout Centene’s markets, with a particular focus on rural and underserved areas. The providers and organizations will then determine which of their patients need the devices and distribute them accordingly. Centene previously announced the creation of a Medicaid Telehealth Partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers to help FQHCs quickly ramp-up their capacity to provide telehealth solutions to meet the needs created by the COVID-19 crisis.
Kaiser Permanente Addresses Systemic Racism
Kaiser Permanente has announced grants totaling $500,000 to four nonprofit, community-based organizations in Washington to address systemic racism in the state. The grants will focus on civic engagement and policy, health care, education, and business and cultural development. Together these grants aim to dismantle discriminatory policies, systems, and practices and will touch nearly 52,000 individuals across the state. Kaiser Permanente has donated $25 million to support Enterprise Community Partners, a national affordable housing nonprofit. The funding will support up to 1,000 new permanent housing units for formerly homeless Californians.