In today’s busy society, everyone is on the go and for most in the Black community, unless one is sick, health is the last thing on their mind. Well through its recently launched services, UnitedHealthcare has an innovative way to ensure that its members keep up on their health whether they’re at the beach or on the bus, in the boardroom or in the living room.
In April UnitedHealthcare introduced its Txt4health and Text4kids programs, which offers personalized health text messages at no charge to individuals in Allegheny, York and Philadelphia counties and whom are enrolled in Medicaid benefit plans.
“Txt4health and Text4kids provides useful health information for people in a convenient, cost-effective way, no matter where they are,” Susan Shick, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania, said in a release.
The text messaging services, developed by Voxiva Inc., includes reminders for taking medication and scheduling medical appointments; tracks weight and exercise goals; and provides healthy eating and nutrition tips and recipes. Text4kids even provides information about vaccines and tracks a child’s developmental milestones.”
According to Denise Puskaric, senior director of Quality Management and Performance for UnitedHealthcare, a study found that 79 percent of individuals enrolled in Medicaid send text messages compared to 43 percent of this enrolled in Medicare and 68 percent of those in employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
“We’re in a technology driven world and everybody texts, everybody has cellphones, at this point and time, and there’s been studies that have proven that,” said Puskaric. “Text messages aren’t going to interrupt people’s days so much and they can receive the messages anywhere in comparison to outreach phone calls…This is a way to communicate with members wherever they are and it just gives more opportunity to convey the importance of preventative care.”
Since its launch, approximately 40 members have enrolled in the text messaging programs. Interested individuals can enroll in these programs through texting, calling or visiting UnitedHealthcare’s website. Although these programs are free, provider’s standard text messaging rates do apply.
While these services are only available in three Pennsylvania counties, Puskaric said there are plans to extend it statewide.
“We started out with just piloting it in York, Allegheny and Philadelphia counties (because) we have significant membership in each of these counties. We looked at some data surrounding members who aren’t receiving their preventative services and found that we have more members in these counties who may benefit from these programs and the reminders to have them access care.”
Along with the Txt4health and Text4kids programs, UnitedHealthcare also offers its Health4me mobile app, which provides instant access to a patient and their family’s critical health information, and its Smart Patient App which keeps track of doctor’s instructions, provides checklists and much more.
Puskaric said, “This is just another example of our commitment at UnitedHealthcare to growing our presence statewide and also thinking of innovative solutions to reach members to ensure they’re getting quality healthcare.”
(For more information on these programs, visit www.uhc.com.)