ESG Investing

Foundations Pursue Mission to Support Underinsured Patients

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The HealthWell Foundation announced the launch of a new fund in October 2021 in an effort to provide financial support for insured Americans living with a neurocognitive disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury. The fund will seek to help these patients manage their insurance premiums as well as high copayments for medication.

The foundation is just one of many nonprofit healthcare companies and organizations with a mission to support uninsured and underinsured Americans. An important ESG goal in its own right, this effort also promotes racial equity in healthcare, helping to close gaps in the system for communities.

Gaps in US Healthcare Coverage

Even as the launch of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 increased the number of Americans with health insurance, millions still do not have any coverage. Roughly 30 million Americans lacked health insurance in the first half of 2020. Black and Hispanic Americans are much more likely to be uninsured than white Americans. In 2020, 29.3% of Hispanic adults aged 18 to 64 and 14.6% of Black adults in the same age group lacked health insurance—compared with only 9.2% of white adults.

However, people with health insurance can still struggle to afford care. Insurance plans typically require out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, which may be sizeable depending on the plan or medical conditions in question. Salesforce reports that 58% of Americans have delayed or skipped needed medical care because of these out-of-pocket expenses. This is most prominent among patients with chronic, rarer, and more serious diseases that require more expensive treatment and prescriptions.

Even those with insurance may rely on financial support from foundations.

The HealthWell Foundation Grant

The HealthWell Foundation is a nonprofit healthcare foundation working to bridge these coverage gaps. The group provides financial support to help cover more than 80 different diseases for roughly 615,000 underinsured patients.

Its latest grant targets Medicare patients who experience psychosis as part of a neurocognitive disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or a traumatic brain injury. Medicare patients with household incomes up to 500% of the federal poverty level can apply for this grant, worth up to $10,000 in a year, to help with their insurance premiums and medication costs.

This grant is specifically geared toward those who already have healthcare coverage through Medicare—demonstrating that even those with insurance may rely on financial support from foundations, especially for serious conditions.

Notable Nonprofit Healthcare Companies

Apart from the HealthWell Foundation, other healthcare foundations also work to support uninsured and underinsured people in need of care.

  • Mercy Care Foundation. This Atlanta-based organization provides medical care, dental care, and social services to under- and uninsured people. It offers the city’s sole healthcare program for homeless Atlantans.
  • Pan Foundation. This foundation helps underinsured Americans who have life-threatening, rare, and chronic diseases pay for treatment by assisting with out-of-pocket costs. The foundation also advocates for ways to improve healthcare access and affordability.
  • Virginia Health Care Foundation. The VHCF provides grants to help uninsured Virginians pay for medical, dental, and mental healthcare as well as medications. Additionally, the organization funds enrollment programs to support residents applying for state-sponsored health insurance programs.
  • Travis County Medical Society Foundation. Through the Project Access Austin program, this group provides health insurance services for uninsured Travis County, Texas, residents who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford health insurance.

In answer to the high costs and coverage gaps within the US healthcare system, these nonprofit healthcare companies and foundations help fill a crucial ESG need by helping community members prioritize their financial and physical health.

Any company, security, fund or other investment identified herein is provided solely for illustrative purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any such investment.

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