Healthfirst ADVANCE Health Equity Approach Grounded in 30 Years of Experience

Working with top New York hospital systems, physicians, and community organizations, Healthfirst has increased postpartum care for high-risk mothers, lowered asthma incidence in impacted populations, and expanded access to behavioral and physical health services for vulnerable New Yorkers


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Healthfirst President and CEO, Pat Wang talks about health equity

NEW YORK--()--Healthfirst, one of the nation's first value-based health insurers, is sharing ​Healthfirst ADVANCE — its evidence-based approach to closing health equity gaps among members/patients. Based on programs Healthfirst has implemented in downstate New York for nearly 30 years, Healthfirst ADVANCE highlights a series of best practices shown to reduce issues of equity in the healthcare system.

Healthfirst ADVANCE also serves as a call to action to other health insurers across the nation to be part of the movement to advance health equity and implement programs to address the long-standing gaps that the pandemic further exposed.

Founded in 1993 by 15 leading New York hospital systems to align incentives around better health outcomes and greater access to quality care, Healthfirst has embedded health equity in its operational model. Today, the insurer serves 1 in 5 New York City residents, including more than one-third of the city’s Medicaid population. Its membership is one of the most diverse among health plans in the United States, with members who speak more than 70 different languages.

“After nearly 30 years in the business of fighting for health equity, we continue to see everything we do through that lens,” said Pat Wang, president and CEO of Healthfirst. “Health insurance companies can be used as a force for good that can be mobilized to help in a deeper, more meaningful way. We work hard to keep our 1.7 million members healthy and ensure they all have access to high-quality care when they need it. No one should lack access to healthcare they need and deserve. All New Yorkers should have the opportunity to live their healthiest lives.”

According to Wang, Healthfirst is committed to continuing to share its learnings and best practices regarding health equity with the healthcare community. Healthfirst will also continue to work closely with its hospital system sponsors and others in the industry and the community to create collaborative advancement to close the health equity gap.

Built on health equity

Healthfirst ADVANCE calls on health insurers, hospitals, physicians, community organizations, and governments to work together towards healthcare that is:

  • Available to all people, with equal opportunity to access quality care
  • Data-informed to close gaps in care and support care continuity and coordination
  • Value-driven through hospital, physician, and insurer alignment around optimal health outcomes
  • Accessible when and where help is needed, so everyone is surrounded with opportunities for healthcare access and continuous insurance with no gaps
  • Nurturing and human-centered so it is easy to engage with and navigate
  • Community-based with strong ties to services and resources that promote whole-person care and address social determinants of health
  • Evidence-based with the best available clinical expertise and research guiding every treatment plan, care decision, and public-health intervention

Communicating evidence-based outcomes

In support of its hospital system partners, providers, health agencies, and community organizations, Healthfirst is committed to sharing key learnings from programs that improve critical areas such as maternal health, senior care transitions, hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma, behavioral health, and others.

For instance, Healthfirst and Mount Sinai Health System developed a program to address racial disparities in maternal mortality. New moms with at least one risk factor for postpartum complications and/or poor long-term health outcomes receive educational materials, connections to community resources, ongoing outreach after delivery, and reimbursement for transportation. This bundle of support drove an 11% increase in the rate of postpartum visits, which is shown to positively impact the health of a new mom, and it was included in official recommendations for postpartum care in New York State in January 2021. Healthfirst Addresses Maternity and Infant Health - YouTube

View case studies and learn more at ADVANCE | Healthfirst.

About Healthfirst

Healthfirst is the largest not-for-profit health insurer in New York Statei, earning the trust of 1.7 million members by ensuring access to affordable and high-quality healthcare. Sponsored by downstate New York’s leading hospital systems, Healthfirst’s unique advantage is rooted in its mission to put members first by partnering closely with its broad network of providers on shared goals. Healthfirst is also a pioneer of the value-based care model, now recognized as a national best practice. For nearly 30 years, Healthfirst has worked with its partners to improve health outcomes through better access to care — especially in underserved communities adversely impacted by disease, health disparities, and socioeconomic barriers to optimal health. Healthfirst has built its reputation in the community for top-quality products and services New Yorkers can depend on. It offers market-leading products to fit every life stage, including Medicaid plans, Medicare Advantage plans, Long-Term Care plans, Qualified Health plans, Essential Plans, and individual and small group plans. Healthfirst serves members in New York City and on Long Island, as well as in Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, and Orange counties. For more information on Healthfirst, please visit

i Based on reported revenue for calendar year 2020.


Elise Titan

Release Summary

Healthfirst, New York's largest not-for-profit health insurer shares Healthfirst ADVANCE, its evidence-based approach to close health equity gaps.


Elise Titan