The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.
This is a highly under-utilized program by families in Washington. Last year only 17 families applied for and received grants (as compared to hundreds in states like Texas, Ohio and Florida — families in some states were recipients of a combined total of more than $350,000 in grants).
Washington ranked #11 for senior health this year, according to the third edition of United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities.
Nationwide, the report shows positive trends for senior health, especially for those measures that look at whether seniors are getting the right care in a setting of their choice. Seniors are experiencing lower hospital readmission rates and preventable hospitalization rates compared to last year, while hospice care use and the number of home healthcare workers have increased.
“United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report is a vital tool for understanding where we, as a state, are making strides in senior health and where key challenges for Washington’s seniors remain,” said Eric Wall, MD, market medical director, UnitedHealthcare in Washington. “With America’s senior population poised to double by 2050, we must continue to invest in programs and solutions that address our seniors’ health needs and help them live the best lives they possibly can.”
Washington’s Overall Health
The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report finds that Washington has its share of strengths and challenges. Washington’s Strengths • Low prevalence of physical inactivity: Less than 24 percent of the senior population is physically inactive, ranking Washington third in the U.S. • Low rate of hip fractures: In the past year, hip fractures decreased from 21 percent from 6.7 to 5.3 hospitalizations per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries. • Low prevalence of preventable hospitalizations: Washington ranks sixth in the U.S., with preventable hospitalizations decreasing 15 percent in the past two years from 46.4 to 39.3 discharges per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries. Washington’s Challenges • High prevalence of chronic drinking: Nearly 5 percent of the senior population reports chronic drinking, ranking Washington 39th in the U.S. • Low prescription drug coverage: About 82 percent of seniors have prescription drug coverage in Washington, ranking the state 46th. • High prevalence of falls: Washington ranks 48th in the country, with more than 32 percent of senior reporting falls.
To see the rankings in full, visit www.americashealthrankings.org/senior.
While more Washington teens consider alcohol use risky, fewer teens consider marijuana use to be risky, according to recent results from the state Healthy Youth Survey. State leaders are concerned because research shows that when the perceived risk from using substances goes down, substance use typically goes up.
At the request of Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, eight insurance companies in Washington have agreed to revamp the information they provide to consumers about contraception benefits after a survey revealed alarming discrepancies.
A 2014 phone survey conducted by Northwest Health Law Advocates (NoHLA) and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington (NARAL) of the eight health insurers selling plans inside Washington state’s exchange, Wahealthplanfinder, uncovered that women seeking information about contraceptive coverage were systematically given false or inaccurate information about their benefits.