Amid healthcare renaissance, UnitedHealthcare focuses efforts on engaging consumer base


everythingHEALTH’s Mary Alice Lawless (left) and UnitedHealthcare’s Shannon Huneke (right)

As health insurers continue to work closer with retailers to improve access to patient care, UnitedHealthcare is among a handful of companies at the forefront of this increasingly collaborative approach.

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“The day of traditional retail is long behind us,” UnitedHealthcare director of strategic alliances and business development Shannon Huneke said at the recent Retail Health Summit. “What we’ve been continuing to call the retailization of health and wellness and wellbeing is the age we are living in.”

Over the past decade, she said, United-Healthcare has focused much of its efforts on developing ways to be more engaged with its customer base — whether it is retailers or the people to whom it provides health coverage — developing programs that target specific patient groups, creating plans that make it easier for patients to understand their coverage and helping providers deliver programs that get at the root of patients’ health problems.

“At the end of the day, it is not only about being healthy, but staying healthy,” Huneke said. To that end, she noted, UnitedHealthcare’s operation has moved from a business-to-business model to a more consumer-direct model that is exploring what drives patients’ healthcare choices, and sharing those insights with others in the healthcare community to help drive patient care.

“It is what we are calling the healthcare renaissance,” she said.

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