Health equity should be a right, not a privilege, for everyone

Posted on Nov 3rd 2021 by Florida Blue

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Being healthy shouldn’t be a privilege that is linked to where you live, how much money you make or the color of your skin. It should be a right for everyone.  Driven by its mission to help people and communities achieve better health, Florida Blue has long been committed to addressing health inequities and improving access to high-quality, affordable health care.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on the systemic disparities in our health care system and the dramatic impact they can have on Black and minority populations. Black and Latino communities faced disproportionate numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

As a result, Florida Blue reaffirmed its commitment to addressing racial and health disparities by pledging $25 million in investments over five years to organizations focused on diversity, inclusion and health equity in the communities the organization serves.

The commitment coincided with the launch of the company’s Equity Alliance, an initiative focused on addressing systemic racism and resulting health disparities for Black Americans. 

Through the Equity Alliance, Florida Blue launched a social determinants of health dashboard to analyze data on significant social barriers to help address underlying factors that have an impact on overall health outcomes. This work is far-reaching. Florida Blue is one of 40 organizations nationwide to sign a health equity pledge, committing to develop a consistent set of measures and approach to collecting, stratifying, and analyzing disparities data.

Internally, Florida Blue is deeply focused on fostering an inclusive culture. One of the company’s core values is inclusion because Florida Blue believes health equity is a right and that helping everyone belong makes us smarter and stronger.

An important step in achieving health equity is for everyone to have access to quality care. Through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it’s possible for people to get health plans as low as $0 per month.  The ACA plans are required to offer important benefits, including preventive and wellness services, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse disorders, pediatric services, emergency services, hospitalization, lab work and pregnancy, maternal and newborn care.

Our Florida Blue Centers serve as health hubs in neighborhoods all around Florida, where residents —regardless of whether they are Florida Blue members — can talk with a nurse or a community specialist, take part in health clinics and exercise classes, get vaccinations and more. The community specialists maintain deeply rooted community relationships and can assist with eliminating barriers to care and connecting community members to the specific resources they need.

The Florida Blue Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Florida Blue, identified health equity, along with mental well-being and food security  as one of three key drivers of health and funding priorities. In the last year, the Florida Blue Foundation invested $3.8 million in a new health equity cultural competence training program for health care professionals.  

Florida Blue not only financially supports organizations focused on health equity and eliminating systemic racism, many of the company‘s leaders are involved with organizations linked to addressing those issues. This summer Florida Blue announced Growing Resilient Communities, a philanthropic initiative to break the cycle of generational poverty in five ZIP codes in four Florida cities: Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. As part of the initiative, Florida Blue is creating innovative partnerships to help rebuild underserved communities.

Health equity only can be achieved when everyone has an opportunity to reach their full health potential. That requires collaboration, innovation and commitment. Florida Blue’s commitment to health equity is both deep and wide.

Filed under: Healthy Living  

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