UnitedHealth Group Offers Incentives for Managing Chronic Illness

April 26, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new program by UnitedHealth Group aims at helping consumers better understand, manage and live with chronic illnesses by providing consumer health education and financial incentives.

According to a press release, the financial incentives are tied to receiving screenings, treatment and other recommended care as a way to improve health outcomes and improve affordability.

The new program – Rewards for Action – will initially focus on chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma, heart disease and high blood pressure, the release said.  According to the group’s own claims data, chronic diseases account for 70% of medical costs and are generated by 7% of the consumers who have chronic illnesses, in part because individuals do not maintain all the necessary treatments for managing their condition

“We are constantly looking for new ways to help improve the lives of people affected by these chronic conditions,” said Tomas Valdivia, MD, Chief Consumer Health Officer for Definity Health, in the release. “Providing individualized support and encouraging adherence to recommended treatment guidelines can help an individual living with illness have more symptom-free days, fewer hospitalizations and achieve better health.”

The program is meant to urge patients to be more active in treating and learning about their illnesses by providing personally relevant information, interactive tools and financial incentives. Patients can then create customized management programs and make lifestyle changes necessary to improve their health.