Widespread health disparities persisted across racial, ethnic, gender, geographic and educational lines before COVID-19 pandemic, according to America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities Report.
The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), released its inaugural America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities Report, highlighting persistent and widening gaps in health and well-being by race and ethnicity, gender, geography and educational level.
The report, and associated interactive website, builds on more than three decades of data and reporting from America’s Health Rankings®, and provides a comprehensive portrait of the breadth, depth and persistence of disparities in population health over time, in an effort to spark meaningful dialogue and action to advance health equity. Importantly, the report focuses on pre-pandemic data, providing an in-depth baseline measure of the magnitude of health disparities.
UnitedHealth Group plans to use the findings of this report as a critical source of information to fulfill its mission of making the health system work better for everyone.
Key findings of the report at the national level include:
“Race and ethnicity, gender, geography, educational attainment and income level should not limit one’s access to health care, or the determinants and outcomes that contribute to our overall well-being,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual, part of UnitedHealth Group. “Our 330,000 team members are dedicated to addressing health disparities and closing gaps in care for the most vulnerable populations.”
The broad range of disparities, across multiple factors, is indicative of the work ahead to achieve more equitable health outcomes. In addition to national findings, America’s Health Rankings includes state highlights where progress has been made and challenges persist, allowing local health officials and policymakers to better focus their efforts.
“The America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities Report is an excellent pre-pandemic baseline report for health and elected officials, and other stakeholders,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “It provides actionable data that is relevant to leaders, not only in public health, but also across many sectors.”
State-specific findings illustrate the vast differences across populations and states. For example:
“The America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities Report provides a unique, data-driven analysis that identifies disparities not only according to race and ethnicity, but also gender, geography and education level. Through new analyses, this report provides public health officials and lawmakers with state-specific findings on their state’s largest disparities so they can plan better strategies to address them,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO, CDC Foundation.
The America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities Report draws on data across 30 measures of health, including social, economic and environmental determinants of health as well as health outcomes, to demonstrate the progress achieved and the challenges faced by a variety of population groups at the national level, and in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
For more than 30 years, UnitedHealth Group has used findings from America’s Health Rankings reports, along with additional data and insights from the organization’s 330,000 employees, to devise and deliver targeted, meaningful solutions that address America’s health disparities — in health care, insurance, clinical expertise and financial support. UnitedHealth Group partners with national and local organizations, government agencies, experts and lawmakers to further improve and better target these solutions, and help all people live healthier lives. In the past decade alone, UnitedHealth Group has invested nearly $23 million in new and emerging strategies to address maternal mortality, and in 2020 donated nearly 70 million meals to national and state-based organizations to address acute needs brought on by the pandemic. Learn more about UnitedHealth Group’s commitment to building a sustainable health care system in the company’s annual Sustainability Report.
For over three decades, America’s Health Rankings has assessed the nation’s health and provided data-driven insights to support better health outcomes and build healthier communities. Produced by the United Health Foundation, America’s Health Rankings evaluates a comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data to illuminate both health challenges and successes, determine national and state health benchmarks, and enable stakeholders to take action in improving health.
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, the United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. The United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, the United Health Foundation has committed more than $500 million to programs and communities around the world. To learn more, visit UnitedHealthFoundation.org.