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At-Home Health Screening Kits Now Available to Affiliated Associations of America Health Care Program Participants
UnitedHealthcare kits provide private, convenient and easier way to screen for diabetes and heart disease
MERCER ISLAND, Wash. (Aug. 19, 2010) – UnitedHealthcare and Affiliated Associations of America (AAOA) announced that at-home health screenings kits are now available to AAOA member employees.
The UnitedHealthcare at-home health screening kits are now available to the 9,000 employees, and their spouses, of the more than 700 companies throughout Washington state that are enrolled in AAOA health care programs. Individuals covered under the medical plan can order the kits at no charge via the AAOA Healthcare website, www.aaoahealthcare.org.
The kits, developed by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based BioIQ, enable individuals to more easily test for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and help patients work with their doctors to more quickly develop appropriate treatment plans.
UnitedHealthcare is among the first health insurers in the nation to offer at-home screening kits as part of a wellness program to employers and their employees. Recently, UnitedHealthcare offered the kits to select employers as part of a pilot program in Washington state. The pilot program results helped identify about 10 percent of participating employees as having high cholesterol and 4 percent as having elevated indicators for diabetes.
"At-home health screening kits can make an impact in the early detection of certain illnesses, and ultimately save lives," said Roger Muller, M.D., senior medical director at UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company. "We believe these kits can help improve employees’ health and reduce their health care expenses. Home test kits can help engage consumers and support the essential relationship people have with their physicians."
Employers are increasingly adopting wellness and prevention programs as a way to improve employee health and productivity, and to better manage their health care costs. Wellness Council of America estimates that a $1 investment in a wellness program saves $3 in health care costs.
Each at-home health screening kit contains components and instructions for drawing a tiny blood sample, from a finger prick, that is then mailed to a certified laboratory for analysis. The easy-to-understand lab reports and personalized health recommendations, based in part on the test results, are available through a password-protected, secure Web portal. Individuals can then incorporate the lab results into an online health assessment and their personal health record on www.myuhc.com.
"These screening programs represent an important step for Washington businesses to help improve and enhance their employees’ health," said Patrick Chestnut, president and CEO, Affiliated Associations of America, a national trade association based in Washington state. "Improving wellness is a process that begins with employee engagement. These kits are safe, easy to use and provide an opportunity for our employees to be empowered and take control of their personal health."
The health screening kits test for both heart disease and diabetes from one small blood sample – only a few drops of blood are required. For heart disease, the tests measure the amount of total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol value. The kits also include a choice of diabetes tests – either for A1c, which measures average blood sugar over the past 90 days, or glucose, which measures blood sugar at the time of testing.
Each kit contains everything needed to collect and mail one small blood sample, including clear, step-by-step instructions and a postage-paid return envelope. Participants are notified by email when their test results are ready for viewing through secure, password-protected accounts. They also receive a physician discussion form to foster a dialog with their doctors, and can call a 24x7 help line if they have questions taking the test or interpreting the results. Employers never see individual test results; those are entrusted to BioIQ as a trusted third party, in accordance with HIPAA privacy guidelines.
"The goal with these high-engagement screening programs is to help individuals and their physicians detect diseases early and develop appropriate treatment programs," said Justin Bellante, CEO of BioIQ. "AAoA members have the opportunity to successfully engage their employees by offering essential diagnostic tests in a private, confidential and non-invasive way."
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