Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Please support me as I participate in two “March for Babies” walks for the March of Dimes.

For me, Marching for Dimes is a family tradition. In the 50’s, my grandmother “Marched for Dimes” as a school teacher to help eradicate polio. And I’ll be marching this year, in two March of Dimes walks. One starts on the steps of Philadelphia’s world-renown Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 25, the other starts at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on May 23.

For my company, UnitedHealthcare, the March of Dimes underscores our commitment to both treating and preventing illness, which is why the company and individual employees have gotten so involved with this year’s marches. We’re marching and raising money to support the March of Dimes mission of improving the health of babies, by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. As a company, our goal is to raise $1 million for the March of Dimes this year. I don’t know if we’ll make it, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

Besides upholding a family tradition and participating in a company initiative, I have another very personal reason to march: Out of sheer gratitude and appreciation for my three healthy sons, Andy, George and Will. Here’s a picture of them. The green one isn’t mine!

The March of Dimes stands for babies. All babies. This wonderful organization needs our help to continue making a difference in the lives of our families. Can I count on your help? I've set a big goal and would really appreciate the support of all my blog readers in achieving it.

Just click here for my donation site!

Thanks in advance for helping the March of Dimes give all babies a healthy start!

Friday, April 9, 2010

If seeking advice and information about health care, surf the Internet at your own risk.

The Internet has made it easy for consumers to access health care information and interact with health care providers and insurers. But with such easy access to so many resources comes a greater risk of listening to the wrong advice or going to the wrong provider.

For most people, the Internet is the go-to when they want to learn about personal health – the place to track down answers to their most pressing questions. What exactly is cholesterol? Could this cough be a symptom of H1N1? A simple search instantly returns an endless array of articles, studies, definitions and discussions.

But it could be a case of Google gone wrong. Links to thousands of health care resources all seem at the surface to hold the answers, but many of these websites may contain inaccurate or outdated information.

A good way to tell if a resource is credible is to consider who sponsors the website. For example, it’s probably best to think twice about advice on how to control high blood pressure from a company selling hypertension medication. More trustworthy sources might be websites for government or state health departments, health insurance companies, major health care facilities such as the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic or certain accredited commercial sites like WebMD.

The truth is, no matter how they use it, the Internet has made it possible for consumers to be more connected to health care. And as long as they’re smart about it, online resources can be an important, simple first step to making the most of online health care resources.

The Internet is a powerful tool that is reshaping health care every day. Consumers can and should take full advantage of everything it has to offer to become more informed, more involved and better equipped to make the right decisions for themselves and their families – they just have to think before they click.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

UnitedHealthcare has a new partner in fighting poor childhood nutrition: Elmo and Big Bird.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled to nearly one in three children in America being overweight or obese. And a recent study by the Food Research and Action Center, found that more than one in five children in the U.S. have insufficient access to nutritional and affordable food today.

For some time now, UnitedHealthcare has wanted to get more active in the fight against poor childhood nutrition because it puts children at risk for obesity and a range of disorders in later life such as diabetes and heart problems.

Now we have a partner and it’s a biggie, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization that creates “Sesame Street” and other educational fare for children.

Sesame Workshop and UnitedHealthcare recently announced that we are partnering to develop a bilingual education outreach program aimed at helping low-income families make food choices that are affordable, nutritional and set the foundation for lifelong healthy habits.

The initiative will offer support and resources for families with children between the ages of 2 and 5 to cope with “food insecurity,” which is defined by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as “households where there is a lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times due to lack of financial resources.”

Program outreach will include bilingual (English and Spanish) Healthy Habits kits with an original DVD starring the Sesame Street Muppets and a documentary of families using a variety of strategies for maintaining healthy habits despite limited financial resources.

AmeriChoice, a UnitedHealthcare company and the country’s largest provider of personalized health care programs for low-income and vulnerable populations, will send Healthy Habits for Life messages and information to low-income and vulnerable populations in public sector health care programs via the Internet and newsletters that will go to the 3 million people who AmeriChoice serves.

With the Healthy Habits for Life partnership, AmeriChoice and Sesame Workshop could potentially see the day when parents and caregivers have a greater understanding of the relationship between healthful food habits and children’s healthy growth. And what a sunny day that would be!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Money is available for children’s uncovered medical expenses… and no one is using it!

Money is available to help pay for kids medical expenses not covered by health insurance, but few families are using it! In fact in the entire state of Pennsylvania, not one family took advantage of this opportunity to get help paying for expensive medical equipment and therapy.

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) program seems too good to be true! Families in need can receive up to $5,000 to help cover an entire range of medical needs from speech therapy to wheelchairs that are not covered by their health insurance plan.

Last year, UHCCF awarded grants to more than 450 families across the country for treatments associated with medical conditions such as speech and developmental delays, hearing loss, autism, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, yet no one in Pennsylvania took advantage of this program!

We recognize some families experience gaps in coverage for certain medical treatments and equipment, and we are committed to helping fill this void. Since expanding our grant program nationwide in 2007, we have provided more than 1,500 grants to families in need of financial assistance.” UHCCF is dedicated to facilitating greater access to medical-related services that can help improve children’s health and quality of life.

So if you know of anyone who might be eligible, give them the website address, www.uhccf.org, where parents and legal guardians can apply for grants online. And tell your physician friends about the UHCCF grants, because it’s likely one or more of their patients may qualify. To be eligible for grants, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have a commercial health insurance plan.