Published June 24, 2014
Photo (above): George Liu, M.D., president of the Chinese-American Independent Practice Association (center), talks with Jeff Alter, national CEO of UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual, and Chris Law, national vice president of UnitedHealthcare Asian Initiatives, at the 20th anniversary celebration of UnitedHealthcare Asian Initiatives and the establishment of its first retail store in New York’s Chinatown that has served thousands of Asian Americans in New York and New Jersey. The event was held at UnitedHealthcare’s 168 Centre Street in Chinatown at its Asian Initiative consumer support center. (PHOTO: Gerard Gaskin, Gaskin Photography)
UnitedHealthcare today celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Asian Initiatives and the establishment of its first retail store in New York’s Chinatown that has served thousands of Asian Americans in New York and New Jersey.
UnitedHealthcare has been providing in-language insurance and health support services to Asian Americans in New York and New Jersey for two decades. The company opened its first health benefits store in 1994 at 202 Canal St. in Chinatown, relocating to 168 Centre St. in 2013. In 2011, UnitedHealthcare opened its first health benefits consumer-support center in Queens that became the model for additional stores nationwide, including one in Edison, N.J., that opened last year to support the growing Asian-American community there.
“We are honored to be a part of this community and to help many local residents get the health care support they need to live healthier lives,” said Chris Law, national vice president, UnitedHealthcare Asian Initiatives. “We look forward to another 20 years working with neighborhood leaders to keep our Asian-American communities vibrant and healthy.”
Each year, the Asian Initiatives staff, most of whom are bilingual (Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Hindi and other Asian languages), provides benefits and health support services to more than 4,000 UnitedHealthcare plan participants each month at its three New York-New Jersey centers. This includes more than 100 Medicare beneficiaries who have been with UnitedHealthcare since it opened its Chinatown retail store 20 years ago.
“I have been a UnitedHealthcare member since the company opened the Chinatown center 20 years ago,” said Yui Ng, 91. “I trust them. Its social services department helped me apply for government subsidy programs, which saved me a lot of money on medical and other expenses. It meant a lot to have that support so I could be more secure. They are also very professional and always very friendly.”
“I’ve been happy with UnitedHealthcare. I have good benefits and they offer me help when I need it,” said Kamlim Lee, 98. “And what other company offers me services in Toisanese?”
Throughout its 20-year history, Asian Initiatives has collaborated with dozens of organizations in New York City to address the unique health needs of Asian Americans, particularly seniors. Programs have included a hepatitis B screening program with the Chinese-American Independent Practice Association (CAIPA), the Chinatown Health Clinic (CHC) and Glaxo Wellcome; and seminars with CAIPA and CHC on nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a cancer that occurs in the nasopharynx, which is located behind the nose and above the back of the throat, that is more common among Asian Americans than other populations. Other activities have included health awareness campaigns, and screening programs supported by grants from pharmaceutical companies.
UnitedHealthcare Asian Initiatives has hosted its own seminars on numerous topics including selecting and using health benefits, general health and nutrition, and financial planning.
In 2011, UnitedHealthcare supported the establishment of the Asian Diabetes Center, a first-of-its-kind clinic in New York City’s Chinatown area that provides comprehensive in-language and culturally relevant health care and education services for Asian Americans to prevent or better manage diabetes.
“UnitedHealthcare has been a great partner in launching the Asian Diabetes Center and many other programs on which we have collaborated over the years,” said George Liu, M.D., founder of the Asian Diabetes Center and president of CAIPA. “We look forward to our ongoing work with UnitedHealthcare as we look to educate and engage residents here in Chinatown in improving their health.”
The introduction of Asian Initiatives also marked the launch of UnitedHealthcare’s consumer support centers across the country. Today the company has five centers supporting Asian-American residents in New York (Manhattan and Queens), New Jersey (Edison) and California (Los Angeles and Alhambra), and the company is looking to open additional centers to support growing Asian-American communities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare also has more than 30 retail storefronts in 17 states offering health benefits and consumer support to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and employer-based plans.
“Health care is a local resource, and as consumers are increasingly being asked to play a greater role in their personal health, many people may need extra support,” said Tom Paul, chief consumer officer, UnitedHealthcare. “Programs like Asian Initiatives and our neighborhood centers will continue to play an important role in helping to ensure consumers have access to culturally sensitive local resources so they can learn more about their health and the options available to them.”
UnitedHealthcare serves nearly 4 million New York residents with a care provider network of 233 hospitals and nearly 62,000 physicians and other health care professionals statewide, including more than 2,000 Asian-American physicians who provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care and support to Asian-American plan participants in New York City.
“I offer my enthusiastic congratulations to UnitedHealthcare Asian Initiatives on its 20th anniversary. This program has made a huge impact on so many Chinatown residents by helping people make the right choices to lead healthier lives and take care of themselves,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “By providing information in multiple languages, UnitedHealthcare is meeting the challenges specific to the Asian-American community here in Lower Manhattan and throughout the region. I look forward to many more successful years to come.”
“For two decades, UnitedHealthcare has played such a valuable role in helping the Asian-American community receive quality care and health education,” said New York City Council Member Margaret Chin. “I’m pleased to congratulate the organization’s hardworking staff and leadership on this milestone anniversary, and I wish them the best for the future as they continue to keep the members of our community in good health.”
Photo (above):Michael McGuire, CEO of UnitedHealthcare New York and New Jersey; Jeff Alter, national CEO of UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual; and Chris Law, national vice president of UnitedHealthcare Asian Initiatives, (left to right) join in the Chinese lion dance as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of UnitedHealthcare Asian Initiatives and the establishment of its first retail store in New York’s Chinatown that has served thousands of Asian Americans in New York and New Jersey. The event was held at UnitedHealthcare’s 168 Centre Street in Chinatown at its Asian Initiative consumer support center. (PHOTO: Gerard Gaskin, Gaskin Photography)
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves more than 45 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.