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New Initiative by Insurers Aims to Improve Health and Address Social Barriers

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the nation’s largest health insurance trade association, has recently announced a new initiative that addresses social barriers to good health. The new program, Project Link, was unveiled during the 2019 AHIP Institute & Expo.

According to AHIP, more than 70% of a patient’s health can be linked to factors other than medical care, including where they were born, where they currently live, where they work, and their age. 

“We all have a responsibility to create social and physical environments that promote better health for all Americans,” Matt Eyles, president and CEO of AHIP, said in a statement. “Project Link solves for this disconnect, bringing us together with a collective vision for enhancing quality of life, improve community health and reduce long-term costs.”

According to AHIP, Project Link will bring health insurance providers from different markets and geographic locations together. This group of insurers will address various issues that impact Americans, including housing, healthy eating, and transportation. AHIP explained that this new initiative will establish clear and collective strategies and goals for insurance providers. It will also ensure that new programs that address social determinants of health are scalable, sustainable, and measurable in improving health and affordability for all parties involved. 

Core components of the new initiative include a new learning collaborative that allows insurers to discuss issues related to social barriers of health. In addition, there will be a Project Link website that spotlights research, insights, and case studies so insurance providers, community leaders, and consumers can track what methods are working the best at addressing social barriers. Finally, Project Link opens up new partnership opportunities for health insurance providers. 

“Using Project Link as our foundation, AHIP will develop research and policy agendas at both the state and federal level to improve the health, well-being, and financial stability for consumers, patients, and taxpayers,” AHIP said in a statement.—Julie Gould 

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