Im here to personally help you find the UnitedHealthcare plan that is the best fit for you. I know the local area and know the plans that are available to you very well. I would be happy to talk with you in person or by phone. We can look at your needs, explore your choices and decide on a plan with confidence. I look forward to serving you.
Resident of Ellenton
Graduate of Howard University
Currently serving more than 600 UnitedHealthcare members
Licensed In: AL, AR, FL, GA, IA, LA, MI, MS, NC, OH, PA, TX, WV
United States Navy Veteran
Meals on Wheels
Bethlehem Baptist Church
Doctors have traditionally been paid for the number of services they perform during a patient visit. This model, known as fee for service, may not take into consideration the outcomes of those services for the patient, focusing instead on volume instead of quality, potentially resulting in higher costs and worse outcomes.Dr. Jessica Bartell, executive vice president and chief medical officer of population health and value-based care for UnitedHealthcare, answers a few questions about value-based care, and what it could mean for helping to transform the health care system. We hear the term value-based care quite a bit. Can you talk to us about what the term means?At its heart, value-based care is a health care delivery model where health care professionals hospitals, labs, doctors, nurses and others are paid based on the outcomes and quality of the care provided to patients instead of the number of services the patient received. Because value-based care puts the emphasis on patient experience and outcomes, as well as on health care access and coordination, health care professionals can focus on the overall health of the patient. Are they getting their preventive screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies? Are they taking their medications?What are the benefits of value-based care for patients and for health care professionals?A few of the benefits patients may see are impactful health care support such as care management, support for health-related social needs and coordination of care if they have multiple conditions and therefore see several doctors. Value-based care promotes a team approach. Many times, patients who have their specific care needs supported through a team-based approach involving doctors, nurses, social workers, health coaches and others may experience better quality care at lower cost and better health care experiences. For example, involving a facilitys pharmacy team to make sure patients are taking their medication when and as prescribed something known as mediation adherence may improve the overall care the patient is receiving.Perhaps one of the greatest benefits for health care professionals other than the financial incentives is that practicing in a value-based care environment may allow them to focus on delivering care and spending time with their patients instead of trying to see as many patients as possible during their office hours because they are rewarded for better patient outcomes instead of patient volume. They also may experience less administrative burden and we believe improved quality and experience for their patients. Additionally, as health care professionals grow more comfortable with value-based care, they may be able to take on greater responsibility which can mean greater financial rewards for managing the quality and cost of care they provide.How does value-based care help solve some of the issues we see in the current health care system?I believe health disparities, excess expense, inadequate access, waste and administrative complexity are some of the issues currently facing the health care system. At its core, value-based care provides financial incentives to reward health care professionals for proactive management of preventive care, chronic conditions and health risks. As a result of this, health care professionals can spend time with their patients, focusing on the individual care of each patient. For example, do they have patients who are facing food insecurity and perhaps they dont have a place to live or consistent transportation to get care? These social determinants of health can impact the overall health of patients. Value-based care arrangements help give health care professionals more time and opportunity to understand what their patient needs may be from a health and social perspective and perhaps offer services such as care coordination, wellness and behavioral health programs or access to community support programs all of which can help improve a patients health. What does successful value-based care look like?The keys to help build success in value-based care oftentimes are activities focused on the basics of population health management looking at the health of an entire community, rather than just at individuals one by one as they seek care.These efforts, which can help drive improvements in cost, quality and experience, include improving access and avoiding expensive downstream costs and complications such as readmissions and avoidable hospitalizations and excess emergency department use. This can also help identify high-risk patients, improve management of social determinants of health and close care gaps.
New Mexicans will soon be able to pilot a new cross-campus program focused on identifying and addressing social determinants of health with a certificate being offered by The University of New Mexico (UNM). The rollout at UNMs campus is a first step in making the program available to stakeholders throughout the state.Understanding how the conditions in which we live and work affect our well-being, including factors such as housing, food security and transportation, can provide a base for how and when health issues may arise. These concepts, also known as social determinants of health, can ultimately help build an approach to improve health equity.Its well known by providers but has previously gone unaddressed and given few resources and support to tackle the discrepancy, said Arthur Kaufman, MD, vice president for Community Health at UNM Health Sciences. We have lots of health problems, but the origin of those health problems is often based on social determinants.Since November 2022, UnitedHealthcare of New Mexico has invested a total of $180,000 for the design, creation and implementation of a modular curriculum that will offer training in social determinants of health via a certificate program.The funding is also being used toward the growth of the College of Population Health for students, faculty and supplies, as well as implementing best practices to successfully address social determinants of health for New Mexicans.Participants of the certificate will gain an understanding of the behavioral, psychological and structural factors that contribute to health inequities. The certificate program will also be tailored differently under different UNM colleges not just with Health Sciences showing that understanding social determinants of health is important in many different disciplines.The real experts in housing are in architecture and planning. The real experts on transportation are in civil engineering. The real experts on all of the legal issues that entangle us with social determinants of health are in the law school, Kaufman said. Were wanting everyone to build it together, so everyone can bring their expertise as we fashion this curriculum.The social needs of those in New Mexico are acute:New Mexico has one of the highest poverty rates in the country at over 18%.More than 30% of New Mexico residents over the age of 62 experience severe housing challenges, including lack of plumbing and kitchen facilities and overcrowding or cost burdens.Native American households who experience housing issues are disproportionately affected, at more than 29%.In New Mexico, 1 in 5 children faced hunger in 2020. Food insecurity has broad effects on overall health, and is associated with multiple chronic health conditions and mental health disorders.Were hoping that all people in health sciences have a good grounding in the social determinants of health, but also to keep peoples interest up in how they influence the overall health outcomes, said Andrew Peterson, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of New Mexico.Andrew said he hopes the certificate will encourage people seeking health sciences degrees to stay in New Mexico after graduating.Were thinking of the overall health care worker shortage in New Mexico and how we can get people into that space where they can work in their local community or somewhere else in the state, he said.UNM Health Sciences leaders are aiming to launch the Social Determinants of Health Certificate this fall.
If youre struggling with your mental health but feel like you dont have the time or availability to find help, youre not alone. Accessing the right care may be challenging. For one, the growing need for mental health care continues to put a strain on the capacity for treatment. Studies show 4 in 10 U.S. adults who needed mental health treatment in the last 12 months did not get it.In addition, issues of stigma continue to keep some from seeking the treatment they need.Access to virtual behavioral health care resources, in the comfort of your own home, may help break down these barriers to care.For many, going to talk to a therapist in person may sound daunting. But, in many cases, you can connect to mental health care from anywhere that feels most comfortable, said Dr. Donald Tavakoli, UnitedHealthcare national medical director for behavioral health. Whether youre looking for one-on-one counseling or resources to help you manage daily stress, virtual offerings continue to expand and can be an affordable option for those looking for support.Virtual care, also referred to as telehealth, has steadily gained popularity over the last few years and adoption has only accelerated with standard physician offices, apps and insurance providers fast-tracking technological advancement to meet demand. Recent data shows telehealth accounted for 5.5% of U.S. medical claims in December 2022, and mental health conditions accounted for 62.5% of diagnoses the top overall diagnosis.Whether its video chatting with your primary care physician or supplementing mental health care through easily downloadable apps, virtual care may offer clear benefits as a convenient and affordable option.Here are three quick tips to help evaluate what might work best for you:1. Establish your preferencesFigure out what might work best for you in terms of care. Start by asking yourself these questions:Do you feel that you would benefit from an evaluation by a licensed clinician to address whether you have a diagnosis of anxiety or depression?Would you prefer in-person or virtual care?Do you seek something self-directed, like an app, to help you with tools and educational information for your health?Can the mental health professional prescribe medication, or do they collaborate with a psychiatrist or other qualified prescriber who will see you if deemed appropriate?2. Speak with your primary care physicianYour primary care physician (PCP) can be a great resource, even if you plan to explore virtual mental health options. Your PCP can help guide any pre-established goals or be a helpful starting point if youre not sure what you need. PCPs are often interconnected with virtual providers, giving you a holistic approach to your care.3. Connect with your insurance providerWhen speaking with a customer advocate, describe the care youd like to receive and ask about available options. They can explain the services that are reimbursed and offer a list of virtual therapists that are covered in-network, helping you understand your affordable options. Some health insurers may have programs available at no additional cost, such as UnitedHealthcares Virtual Behavioral Coaching.If you are struggling with your mental health, dont wait to get care resources are available and it may be easier to access than you think.
With warmer weather officially here, you may be rushing outside to enjoy the sunshine. You may also be thinking about how to best protect your skin.More people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined, and most skin cancer is associated with sun exposure. Knowing how to help protect your skin from the sun may have a lasting impact.To help set the record straight on some common sun protection myths, weve dug into the research and enlisted the help of Dr. Jennifer Malin, chief medical officer at Optum.True or false? Your sunscreen should have UVA and UVB protectionTrue: When walking down the sunscreen aisle, the choices can be overwhelming. Dr. Malin says, Start by looking for a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection. That means it filters both types of ultraviolet radiation.The Skin Cancer Foundation says that ultraviolet A rays are present all day and can cause skin-aging and wrinkling while ultraviolet B rays are strongest during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and can cause sunburns. Both types have been linked to skin cancer.True or false? One application of sunscreen lasts all dayFalse: Sunscreen should be reapplied throughout the day and SPF, or sun protection factor, can help you know how often. Dr. Malin explains, If you typically burn after 10 minutes in the sun, multiply that number by the SPF. For SPF 30, this would translate to 300 minutes, but the sunscreen will start to rub off before then. So, reapply often, at least every two hours.Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off or excessive sweating.True or false? You should use the highest SPF possibleFalse: You may be surprised to learn that higher SPF does not always mean better protection. Dr. Malin says you may not need anything higher than SPF 30 if youre applying generously and often. This is because, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF 30 protects against 97% of the suns rays, while SPF 50 increases that just a bit to 98%.True or false? A little dab of sunscreen goes a long wayFalse: To get a sunscreens full protection, you should consider applying about one ounce (about two tablespoons). Again, its important to reapply every two hours, or right after coming out of the water.True or false? You can get sun damage on a cloudy dayTrue: One of the most common mistakes people make is forgetting about incidental sun exposure. Your skin is still soaking up UV rays even on cloudy days or while driving with the windows down. To help protect skin in such situations, Dr. Malin suggests making protection part of your normal routine. Put sunscreen on first thing in the morning, even if you arent thinking about going outside be consistent.True or false? Sunscreen is better than covering upFalse: While sunscreen is vital and should be used, Dr. Malin stresses the value of staying covered up. Wear lightweight, tightly woven hats, shirts and pants. Combine sunscreen and sun-protective clothing for your strongest protection.True or false? Both sunscreen spray and sunscreen lotion offer the same protection.It depends. While sunscreen spray can be easier to apply, it comes with a few risks. Sunscreen spray is harder to control and most people do not use enough experts recommend spraying each area of your body for at least six seconds. You also need to rub it in after application. In addition, ingredients in spray sunscreens may be irritating to your lungs if inhaled, so youll want to be sure youre not spraying it directly on your face. Consider using a lotion for a base and reapplying with spray instead.Summer is a great time to get you and your loved ones outside to enjoy the fresh air, outdoor activities and exercise under the sun so dont let concerns about sunscreen stop you from enjoying the warmer weather.
More than 37.3 million people, or 11.3% of the population, are living with diabetes, making it an epidemic in the United States. In Nevada alone, 11.5% of the population is diagnosed with diabetes.Recognizing this pressing health concern, Health Plan of Nevada (HPN), a UnitedHealthcare company, worked with Moms Meals to provide fully prepared, diabetes friendly, home-delivered meals to diabetic Medicaid members, as part of a 12-week pilot program. Good nutrition and improved access to diabetic friendly options can help reduce A1c levels (a measure of average blood glucose levels over the last three months) and therefore, help control diabetes.Targeting type 2 diabetes, HPN was able to support 125 eligible Medicaid members who participated in the pilot program. The program included:12 weeks of educational disease management counseling with a registered nurse (RN) specializing in diabetes8 weeks of diabetes friendly meals from Moms MealsThe results exceeded expectations.On average, (HPN) Medicaid members who participated in the pilot program with Moms Meals saw a decrease in their A1c of 1.9 points, said Kelly Simonson, CEO of HPN Medicaid.Subsequently, the program also saw the following results:32% decrease in total cost of care82% decrease in acute inpatient costsOverall increase in diabetes management program engagementFollowing the success of the pilot phase, HPN and Moms Meals expanded its program to include adult Medicaid members affected by type 1 diabetes.Isabella Brawer has dealt with the effects of type 2 diabetes ever since she can remember. Isabella is HPN member and participated this pilot program in 2022. This program helped ease her stress of living with diabetes while also improving her overall health by having access to healthy food options and consistent hands-on communication with her HPN-certified diabetes educator, Teresa Shepard.The best part of this program is the education I received over the course of 12 weeks, Isabella said. With my case managers guidance, the variety of food and exercise options, I noticed an improvement in my day-to-day life I wasnt tired at work and my health was in a better place overall. This program improved my life in more ways than one.Isabella said she enjoyed the variety of meals the program provided, never growing bored or feeling stagnant of the options. She also noticed an increase in energy throughout her workday. Without the burden of having to plan, shop and create healthy meals, Isabella was able to focus on her diabetes self-management skills.She plans to implement the healthy habits she learned through this program into her daily routine.Seeing the positive effect of the program on Isabellas life, Teresa said she is thrilled with the expansion of the program to include type 1 diabetes members.The success of the program is so vital for the overall health of our members because diabetes affects so many different aspects of life, Teresa said. The ultimate goal of the program is to ensure the member has the right tools to achieve a healthy lifestyle, which in turn improves other aspects of disease management like medical costs, program engagement and A1c levels.
Its a startling statistic 4 in 5 pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S., or more than 80%, are preventable.Doulas have been recognized as a crucial part of maternal health care and an evidence-based solution to help improve birth outcomes. This is especially true when doula care is available to underserved populations particularly for Black and Indigenous mothers who face systemic disparities in maternal health outcomes.There has been a great deal of research on how having a doula can support labor and birth outcomes, including decreasing cesarean sections and shortening the length of labor, said Elizabeth Simmons, CEO and Founder of The Doula Network. What doulas bring to the birthing process, to the birthing persons care team, is information, education and wisdom that isnt encapsulated in the health care system. That includes culturally congruent care.A doula is a non-clinical support person who provides continuous emotional, informational and physical support for individuals before, during and after labor. This includes expanding health literacy by providing guidance on medical procedures in plain language, lactation support, helping with physical comfort during labor, education on coping skills and infant care, plus encouraging personal advocacy in collaboration with medical providers.With Medicaid, there has been increasing support for doulas as a covered benefit within state Medicaid plans. UnitedHealthcare Community & State is launching a pilot which provides comprehensive doula support to eligible members in five states Texas, Washington, Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky for one year in partnership with The Doula Network (TDN). TDNs mission is to create a foundational system of doula services that are aligned with a birthing persons needs.The pilot program in these five states includes:Five doula care visits (four perinatal visits plus labor support) at home or in a doctors officeIn-person labor support at birthing locationPhone or email support between visits24/7 on-call support from 37 weeks until birthSocial determinants of health screening and supportOur main goals are to positively impact maternal and child health outcomes and to use the data collected in this pilot to demonstrate that impact, said Hannah Corbett, associate director of Maternity Provider Partnerships Design at UnitedHealthcare Community & State. Hopefully one day every single pregnant Medicaid member will have the opportunity to be supported by a doula.Doulas have been found to improve clinical outcomes, especially for people of color. In addition, doulas may offer support as a patient advocate and familiar face in navigating a clinical environment that can be overwhelming. The pilot will match members with doulas of similar background, race, language, ethnicity, as much as possible.Were working with teams like UnitedHealthcare Community & State to really bring robust services that honors what the doula does, honors what the medical system does well and make sure that we come together in a collaborative way that centers that birthing person, Elizabeth said.There is no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing access to doulas for the Medicaid population. The pilot with The Doula Network is one way to help expand access to wide-ranging, holistic support for improved birth outcomes on a larger scale and to the communities that need it the most.
Oftentimes, women are the caretakers and CEOs of their families health needs, but sometimes that comes at a cost to their own well-being. According to the National Institute of Health, women make nearly 80% of the health care decisions for their families.But who is there to help advocate for their health care needs?Nearly half of American women responding to a recent survey said they had skipped a preventive health care appointment, such as an annual checkup, vaccine or recommended screening, during the last year. Improving access to this type of preventive care is crucial, given women who are caregivers may be at greater risk for poor physical and mental health, including depression and anxiety. Women tend to put their own health care needs far down on their list of priorities, said Dr. Donna OShea, an OB/GYN and chief medical officer of population health for UnitedHealthcare. We need to change that by supporting women and encouraging them to consistently invest in their well-being, which may help enable them to more effectively show up for their friends, family members and colleagues. To help support womens health and the women in your life, it may help to first assess the stage of life theyre in, as needs vary over time.AdolescenceAdolescence: A focus on healthy eating, regular exercise and adequate sleep is vital as young girls reach their teenage years. Encouraging this healthier behavior early on can also help them create habits that can lead into adulthood. Finding a gynecologist to help monitor the specific needs of a young woman can be an important step to ensuring she has comprehensive care through this stage.Equally important is a focus on behavioral health. Recent research shows 57% of teen girls in the U.S. felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, which is double what boys in their age group reported. Tapping into a variety of solutions, including self-care resources and virtual care, may help address these issues in ways that are more comfortable, convenient and affordable.Early adulthoodAs women reach their 20s, 30s and 40s, the prevalence of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes increases.1 Lifestyle changes and a focus on overall health may help lower the risk, including: Exercising regularlyHealthier eatingManaging stressAvoiding or quitting smokingLimiting or abstaining from alcoholMonitoring blood pressureManaging blood sugar and lowering cholesterolFor women looking to expand their families, access to quality preconception, prenatal and post-natal care is paramount as this type of support can help improve outcomes for both moms and babies. This care can also help with maternal mental health needs, which is crucial considering 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression after giving birth. For the 15% of couples who experience infertility, dedicated support and benefits through your workplace health plan may increase the chances of a successful pregnancy and delivery. Late adulthoodAt this point in life, for most women, more frequent screenings are usually recommended to help reduce the risk of certain cancers or chronic conditions, helping to encourage earlier detection and proactive treatment. This may include mammograms, colonoscopies, cervical cancer screening, regular blood pressure monitoring and testing for prediabetes.In addition, women may be managing the different stages of menopause, which can affect health in various ways. It also becomes more important to maintain strong social connections, as interpersonal relationships can have an incredible impact on ones overall well-being.Caring for the women in our lives can mean more than celebrating them on special occasions. It can mean supporting them with time and resources to prioritize her health and well-being all year long.
After months of bundling up during the winter, nothing feels better than the first signs of spring warmer weather, sunny skies and blooming flowers.While the long-awaited time outdoors is exhilarating for some, for others it can be miserable as they deal with sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes, as seasons change. In fact, millions of Americans suffer from allergies each year.Some of the most common outdoor allergy triggers are tree, grass and weed pollen.Allergic rhinitis, often known as hay fever, can be triggered when things like pollen enter your body, causing your immune system to mistakenly identify it as a threat. In response, you may experience symptoms in the nose like sneezing, runny nose or congestion. Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies but there are ways to help make the outdoors a little more bearable, through prevention and treatment. Medical costs associated with pollen allergies exceed $3 billion every year, with nearly half of those costs linked to prescription medicine.Seasonal allergies can make you feel depressed, but they also dont mean that you have to avoid the outdoors either, said Dr. Ravi Johar, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare. Most people who suffer from allergies are able to control them and continue to live an active lifestyle.If you have seasonal outdoor allergies, you may want to consider preparing for your symptoms before they appear. Experts say taking medication before allergy season starts helps your body build up a defense when the pollen hits making it easier to control symptoms.Here are three tips that may help provide relief when spring blossoms:1. Reduce your exposureUnderstanding what triggers your allergies can help you reduce your exposure. Other ways to help include:Running your air conditioning in your home and car to help keep pollens outdoorsAvoid lawn mowing or gardening chores that may stir up allergens in the airUsing air purifiers or air filters in your home to help remove dust, allergens and pollenAvoid drying clothing outdoors where they can collect pollenTake a shower and change your clothes before going to sleep2. Track when pollen is highCheck your local pollen forecasts to stay on top of when high counts are expected. When high pollen days are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before symptoms begin. Also consider:Staying indoors during high pollen counts between 5 and 10 a.m. or on dry, windy daysClosing doors and windowsWearing a pollen mask if you need to do outside choresIf you have kids with seasonal allergies, consider letting them play outdoors closer to the evening, wearing fitted sunglasses to protect their eyes from pollen and keeping the windows closed in their bedroom to create a pollen-free space.3. Consider over-the-counter remediesSeveral non-prescription medications may help ease symptoms, including:Oral antihistamines, which may help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyesDecongestants, such as pseudoephedrine, may provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. This may also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline and phenylephrineCombination medications that mix an antihistamine with a decongestantRinsing your nasal passages with saline solution or a neti pot may help flush the allergens from your noseIf youre still struggling to manage your symptoms, contact your doctor to explore further treatment options.Learn more about allergy types and causes.
Most of us know that its important to see a doctor for an annual checkup. During your working years, that annual checkup typically means a full physical. But once you become eligible for Medicare, youll likely start hearing about something called an annual wellness visit.Unlike a standard head-to-toe physical, an annual wellness visit is primarily focused on preventive care, health screenings and wellness planning. It gives you an opportunity to have a conversation with your doctor about your health status and goals then create a long-term plan to help you meet those goals and maximize your well-being.While Original Medicare doesnt cover an annual physical, some Medicare Advantage plans do. However, everyone enrolled in Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage is eligible for an annual wellness visit at no additional cost. If your Medicare Advantage plan includes coverage for an annual comprehensive physical exam, ask your provider if the annual wellness visit and the physical can be scheduled during the same visit.The misconception that the annual wellness visit is the same as a physical could be part of the reason why so few Medicare enrollees take advantage of the benefit only about 23% of beneficiaries enrolled in Original Medicare attended a wellness visit.Below youll find an overview of what to expect from your annual wellness visit and hopefully the motivation to schedule one.Taking stock of your medical historyYour primary care provider, whether in person or virtually, will review your relevant medical history, including major illnesses, surgeries, your current medical condition and medications youre taking.Your doctors office may send you a form ahead of your appointment that includes a list of questions. Filling out this form in advance can help ensure your doctor has a thorough understanding of your health history and also remind you of questions you might want to raise at the appointment.If you dont get a form before your visit, you should still be prepared to be as detailed as possible when describing any past medical procedures and illnesses. Knowing specific diagnoses and dates will certainly help, but even giving a rough description of any major medical events in your life will help your physician understand both your past and current medical issues.The whos who of your health care teamKeeping you healthy is a group effort, and the primary care provider you see for your wellness visit will want to know whos part of your health care team. He or she may also want to work closely with other health care professionals involved in your care. Therefore, you should be prepared to give the person conducting your visit a list of your current health care providers, including contact information and field of specialty.If you see several specialists to help you manage chronic conditions or havent seen some of your doctors in the past year, it can be easy to forget their names. Thats why its a good idea to create a list of your doctors and bring it with you to your wellness visit.You may have chosen a health care surrogate or a proxy who will speak on your behalf should you ever become too sick to speak for yourself. If so, bring a copy of your completed forms to your appointment. If you havent made your choices yet, this is a good time to get your physicians advice on your personal advance care planning.An Rx for a productive medication reviewGetting a full rundown of all your vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements and prescription medications can help the doctor spot potential drug interactions that could be harmful to your health. He or she will also want to ensure you have a complete understanding of each medication, its purpose and any potential side effects.Make a list, including how often you take each medication and the dosage. Or, bring all your pill bottles with you to your appointment and show them to the provider.Stats and screeningsA clinician will check your height, weight and blood pressure, and then your provider will likely ask you some questions, including how you have been feeling recently. These questions are designed to test your cognitive function and screen you for depression. Answer them as honestly as possible and come to the appointment well-rested so you can perform your best on the tests.Creating a wellness planAfter completing all tests and assessments, your provider will be ready to assess your current health status and work with you to develop a plan to meet your health goals. That plan will address how to treat your current conditions and how to help prevent future health problems. If you have any risk factors for developing new conditions, your provider will give you some options for managing those risks.You can also set up a schedule for preventive care or screening tests and discuss treatment options for any newly diagnosed conditions.Be prepared to get the most out of this planning by developing a list of questions you would like to ask at the appointment. And dont be shy with your questions. During the annual wellness visit, your provider may have more time than usual to listen to your concerns and answer your questions.Its also important to be honest about your health goals. Not everyone sets out to exercise daily or lose 10 pounds in the next year and thats OK. Maybe your goal is to ride a bike with your grandkids around the neighborhood or to cut back on your alcohol consumption. Whatever your health goals are, your provider cant help you reach them if he or she doesnt know about them. So be as open and honest as possible during your visit.Things to keep in mindTo avoid surprises, pay attention to these details as you get your visit on the calendar:Make sure the appointment is scheduled specifically as an annual wellness visit, or the provider may bill it as a normal office visit, which could be subject to a copay, depending on your plan. If youre a UnitedHealthcare member, our dedicated customer service advocates can even help schedule your appointment for you.If your provider orders a test during the annual wellness visit, you may be charged any applicable lab or diagnostic copay for the recommended services.The bottom lineWhen you are prepared, your annual wellness visit is more than just an office visit. It is your opportunity to take charge of your health and help ensure youre on the right path to living the life you want. If you havent scheduled yours yet, use this as the push you need to get it on your calendar. It could be one of the most important conversations you have all year.To learn more about how your how your Medicare plan can help you access the care you need, visit uhc.com/medicare.
Have you ever felt your muscles tense and your heart suddenly start to race? Do you ever feel a bit shaky or overwhelmed by worry that simply wont subside?Its possible youre dealing with anxiety.Its the most prevalent mental health concern in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults every year. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating so how do you know where you fall on the spectrum and how can you get help?First, lets define anxiety.Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes, said Dr. Donald Tavakoli, UnitedHealthcare national medical director for behavioral health. Occasional worrying is part of being human, but sometimes that worrying can worsen and transform into an anxiety disorder.There are several types of anxiety disorders; some of the most common include:Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)Excessive, ongoing worry that is difficult to control and often interferes with everyday activitiesSome symptoms of GAD may include:RestlessnessBeing on-edgeIrritabilityDifficulty concentratingPanic disorderAn anxiety disorder which causes frequent panic attacks, or sudden time limited feelings of intense fear or terror without the presence of clear dangerSome symptoms of a panic attack may include:Elevated heartbeatChest painDifficulty breathingDizzinessSocial anxiety disorderEveryday interactions with people can cause severe anxiety, embarrassment or self-consciousness, due to fear youre being judged or scrutinized by others.Social anxiety can affect relationships, daily routines and disrupt your life, if left untreated.Some symptoms may include:Intense fear of interacting with strangersAnxiety in anticipation of an event or activityAvoidance of doing things or speaking to peopleAnalysis of your performance or perceived flawsVarious phobia-related disordersA strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger.Examples of these phobias may include heights, agoraphobia (public places), claustrophobia, highway driving, flying, animals, water, etc.Some symptoms may include:Strong desire to fleeImmediate intense panicRapid heartbeat, sweating, tight chestBeing aware that fears are irrational but feeling powerlessWhether you have anxious feelings or a clinical anxiety disorder, accessing resources can help.Finding helpIf you are feeling anxiety of any kind, remember you are not alone. There are many resources out there that can help you feel better and take control of your life. This may include:1. Self-care appsSelf-care techniques, coping tools, meditations and more may be available through a self-care app. Some health insurers, including UnitedHealthcare, provide members access to phone and mobile app services at no additional cost. These tools should not replace treatment by a health care professional, but evidence suggests they can help complement your care plan.2. Virtual visits for supportIf youve noticed your anxiety has evolved from normal to nuisance and is beginning to affect your everyday life, it might be time to explore working with a specialist. Something like Virtual Behavioral Coaching may provide additional support outside a self-care app leveraging a dedicated coach to help you get a handle on your anxiety or stress. Virtual options arent always a stand-alone replacement to appropriate treatment, but it can conveniently bring in a trusted relationship to help with practical problem solving.3. In-person or virtual mental health providersIf your anxiety is impacting your ability to function andyour quality of life or if you simply feel you need an assessment to understand your symptoms and treatment options, consider consulting with your primary care physician to align on next steps. Alternatively, you can also visit your insurance providers website or contact them via the number on the back of your card to help find a mental health provider in your network. If you have access to an Employee Assistance Program, you may be eligible for counseling at no additional cost.