A new report focused on ways health insurance plans can improve health equity in New York also includes ideas that can be applied in other states. “Leveling Up: A Role for Health Plans in Improving Health Equity in New York,” released by the New York City-based independent and nonprofit United Hospital Fund, provides numerous examples of interventions insurers are already taking (or can take) to improve health equity in New York and other states.

Among the areas in which companies might incorporate equity principles are procurement, benefit design, provider networks, utilization review, internal diversity programs, public reporting, data collection, and investments to meet capital and social needs of communities and enrollees.

“It’s been 20 years since the publication of the landmark Institute of Medicine report, ‘Unequal Treatment: Confronting Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Health Care,’ laid out the shameful inequities in our health care system,” UHF President and CEO Oxiris Barbot said in a statement. “The COVID pandemic made it painfully clear that scant progress has been made. It will take an all-hands-on-deck approach by all parties to bring about the structural change necessary to address social drivers of health. This report presents some important opportunities for health plans — which have a unique and vital role to play — as well as policymakers, regulators, and employers.”


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