UCare: Supporting members and strengthening communities for the long haul

By Sandy Leuthner, Communications Specialist, UCare

UCare is proud to be a part of Grandma’s Marathon: an event that is a perfect metaphor for the values of our mission. Just as hundreds of volunteers, spectators, and athletes from all walks of life come together to make Grandma’s better every year, UCare brings together valued partners, community members, and dedicated professionals from diverse populations to improve the health of our members and strengthen our communities.

At UCare, we see the road to good health as a marathon, not a sprint. We are tireless in serving our members by creating and delivering innovative health coverage products to more than 250,000 individuals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Our broad range of services support individuals and families enrolled in income-based Minnesota Health Care Programs, such as MinnesotaCare and Prepaid Medical Assistance Program; adults with disabilities; Minnesotans dually eligible for Medical Assistance and Medicare; and Medicare-eligible individuals throughout Minnesota and in western Wisconsin.

Like marathoners determined to get to the finish line, UCare is determined to reduce health disparities for disadvantaged populations in the Twin Cities and throughout Greater Minnesota. In 2011, our community-directed UCare Fund distributed 22 grants totaling $885,940 to Minnesota organizations working to reduce obesity and promote healthy lifestyles among people of all ages, cultures, and abilities.

Similar to endurance athletes, UCare is unwavering in our support of community initiatives to sustain our mission. In 2011, we provided funds for a Senior Winter Fitness Initiative that supplied snowshoes and poles to four Greater Minnesota senior centers – in Mankato, Brainerd, Duluth, and Crosby. This same program was at work in the Twin Cities, where we donated sports shoes for Somali adults over age 60 at the Somali Senior Center and Day Services site: now these seniors can safely use the site’s exercise equipment to work toward obesity and diabetes control goals. Through the Children’s Defense Fund, UCare funds scholarships for outstanding high school students who have overcome adversity, demonstrated academic excellence, and given back to their communities.

These initiatives are just a few examples of UCare’s commitment to improve the health of our members and communities: we’re proud to show we’re in it for the long haul. We’re also proud of the runners of Grandma’s Marathon! If you are a UCare member and taking part in the events for Grandma’s, or supporting a loved one who is running, it would be great to hear from you! Tell us about it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ucarehealthplan. Or email us at sleuthner@ucare.org. You can also send a letter: UCare, Attn: Marketing, P.O. Box 52, Minneapolis, MN 55440.