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Shifting from sick care to whole health

February 01, 2024
Did you know that up to 80 percent of health outcomes are determined outside of the doctor’s office? Much of our health is affected by our circumstances and behaviors. Non-clinical factors like where you live, personal finances, exercise, access to nutritious food and reliable transportation, or social isolation can affect your overall health.
 
That’s why at UniCare we take a broader view of health and have been working hard to address not only the physical factors that affect health, but the mental, emotional, and social factors that affect one’s overall well-being – we call it whole health.
 
To that end, and to more accurately reflect our mission of supporting our members’ whole health, UniCare will begin rebranding as Wellpoint this spring. UniCare administers health benefits for more than 200,000 state and municipal employees, retirees, and their families insured through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission. Starting July 1, UniCare’s commercial and Medicare Supplement plans will officially use the Wellpoint name. There will be no changes to members’ healthcare access, benefits, or coverage, and they will still receive the same high level of service they have today.
 
We believe that your health plan should empower members to live a healthy life and enable them to access healthcare services whenever and wherever they need them. That’s why our health plans include a range of well-being tools and services, including telehealth, real-time chat with providers, fitness reimbursement, a 24/7 nurse line, and access to integrated and collaborative behavioral healthcare services. We are proactively moving away from sick care (reimbursing providers for care when you’re sick) to adopting a whole health model (rewarding providers to keep our members healthy) that empowers our members’ health journey.
 
For example, last year we introduced a virtual chronic care management program called Ibis Health that offers personalized care, round-the-clock monitoring, and one-to-one monthly support for Medicare Extension plan members living with two or more chronic conditions. The goal is to help these members live healthier lives with fewer instances of unnecessary hospitalizations through proactive member support. We also offer comprehensive health support through our Whole Health Whole You program for our commercial members, providing resources and care coordination for those who need it.
 
Improving whole health also means ensuring our members have access to affordable care. Many families live on fixed incomes and any increase in the cost of care negatively affects their budgets. That’s why we continue to champion access to affordable healthcare for our members and Massachusetts taxpayers. One example of how we do this is by working closely with providers to negotiate contracts that preserve access to care, while keeping any increases in costs at reasonable levels. We also work closely with providers to promote payments that reward them for improving the whole health of our members instead of the volume of services provided.  
 
For all of us at Wellpoint, helping our members, Bay State residents, and communities means helping our own families, friends, and neighbors. Massachusetts is our home too and serving public servants and first responders is a mission that has fueled our work for nearly four decades. We will continue to support our members’ health journey, find novel ways to build a healthier Massachusetts, and strive to maintain affordable access to the benefits and services our members deserve. At Wellpoint, our members’ whole health is our whole point.
 
David Morales is the general manager of UniCare, soon to become Wellpoint. Learn more at unicare.wellpoint.com.