Public-private partnerships are key to ensuring all Americans have access to affordable, quality coverage — especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to OptumHealth Services Chief Executive Officer Heather Cianfrocco.

Speaking at Health Care: 2021, a virtual event on the future of health care in America hosted by Axios, Cianfrocco spoke about the current state of the U.S. health care system and opportunities to build on what’s working to make the system work better for everyone. She discussed solutions for expanding health insurance access and reiterated UnitedHealth Group’s commitment to a health system that ensures every person has access to high-quality, affordable health care that meets their unique needs.

ICYMI: VIDEO REPLAY

Health Care: 2021

UnitedHealth Group sponsored a virtual event hosted by Axios on Friday, Nov. 13, about the future of health care in America. Watch the replay. 


What’s Ahead in 2021

In addition to continuing pandemic concerns, uncertainty exists over how to expand health insurance access.

“Although the goal is 100%, let’s not forget that 90% do have coverage today, and the 90% that have coverage have really stable coverage that gives options and it’s based on success,” Cianfrocco told Jim VandeHei, co-founder and chief executive officer of Axios.

Cianfrocco pointed out that the public and private sectors can close the gap and achieve universal coverage by:

  • Expanding and strengthening Medicaid to cover more than 9 million additional individuals.
  • Modernizing individual exchanges to cover more than 9 million additional individuals.
  • Enabling more choice in the individual market.

Ultimately, Cianfrocco said, “If we work from that base, that is an opportunity to expand what is already a strong coverage platform and get every individual covered."

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“One of the things UnitedHealth Group is really focused on, and has been even more amplified by the pandemic, is an approach to a next-generation health system. It means universal coverage, affordability for everyone, improved health care outcomes, and a better experience for consumers and for practitioners.”

– Heather Cianfrocco, Chief Executive Officer, OptumHealth Services

Cianfrocco also highlighted Optum Care and UnitedHealthcare physicians mobilizing to care for our most vulnerable patients by adapting and rapidly expanding to meet the needs of millions of patients who have chronic and emerging conditions. Optum Care physicians have facilitated 1 million digital clinical visits directly with their patients. She stated that working with partners and policymakers has advanced services and allowed faster adoption, noting UnitedHealth Group’s commitment to making it even easier to access and bring care closer to home.

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The Path Forward

The Path Forward outlines our perspective on how to develop a modern, next-generation health system that works better for everyone.