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[White Paper] Community Health Data Drives Enhanced Benefit Designs, Employer Wellness And Care Management Initiatives

Employers should consider combining community health statistics with their employee claims data to influence benefits decisions and concentrate healthcare dollars and other resources where needed, according to data from a recent Health Action Council study.

The study – “Community Health Data: Improving Employer Investment in Overall Employee Health” – was recently presented at the 2018 Health Action Council conference IN*VALUE*ABLE in Cleveland.

“We believe infusing local community data into the discussion when creating health and benefits packages could be the missing link in helping organizations create a healthier, more productive workforce and better contain rising health care costs.” said Patty Starr, executive director, Health Action Council, an organization dedicated to improving the quality and cost of care for its member companies.

The study reflects data compiled from Health Action Council member employers in 10 U.S. cities, using proprietary analytics delivered through the UnitedHealthcare Center for Advanced Analytics and Optum.

“The findings support that U.S. companies should think and act differently about their workforce and community investments,” added Starr.


  • Employee health is affected by four primary community factors – defined in the research as:

    • “Community spending” focusing on health services;

    • “Social determinants,” which looks at community resources and attitudes toward health and wellness;

    • “Health system attributes” including access to care, health information and payment incentives; and

    • “Community health outcomes” where access to affordable, quality care and individual health habits can be measured.

  • Community health data correlates directly with employee health data at the local level.

  • Employers can target initiatives that will have a direct impact on employee experience and health care costs using neighborhood-specific data and engaging with local community organizations and health     care providers.

The study also highlights key findings from three of the 10 cities (Columbus, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; and Houston, Texas), using Health Action Council employer data. Specific opportunities to increase access to care, address community-specific health conditions and increase personal engagement are highlighted in the study. Detailed reports highlighting variations in quality of care community by community will better enable employers to concentrate health care dollars and other resources where needed. These reports will be offered as part of the Health Action Council’s latest health plan.

“Healthcare is local, and solutions need to address the unique healthcare concerns and opportunities at a community level,” said Craig Kurtzweil, executive director of UnitedHealthcare Center for Advanced Analytics. “Using local insights can help us understand the current needs and evolving issues to help make a positive impact on the health of employees and their families.”



Health Action Council is a not-for-profit organization representing large employers that enhances human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services and collaboration. The organization provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve quality, lower costs and enhance individual experiences, and by collaborating with key stakeholders to build a culture of health.

Optum is a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone. With more than 133,000 people worldwide, Optum delivers intelligent, integrated solutions that help to modernize the health system and improve overall population health. Optum is part of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH).


UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @UHC on Twitter.

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