UnitedHealthcare Helps the National Arbor Day Foundation Replant Pike-San Isabel National Forest
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (June 12, 2007) UnitedHealthcare is supporting The National Arbor Day Foundation's effort to plant more trees and help replenish America's national forests and promoting greater use of electronic customer transactions to reduce paper waste.
Through a $10,000 donation - a dollar a tree - UnitedHealthcare is helping the Foundation plant trees in the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, where, in 2002, nearly 138,000 acres burned in the Hayman fire, the largest recorded wildfire in Colorado history.
In addition, UnitedHealthcare is encouraging its customers to receive the company's communications - including business-related and health care benefit updates - via email instead of paper. Employer customers that choose to receive emails instead of paper are enabling UnitedHealthcare to support The National Arbor Day Foundation to have trees planted in a national forest that has been damaged by fires, insects or other natural causes.
UnitedHealthcare, based in Minneapolis, is a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company that provides and administers health insurance plans for more than 26 million commercial health plan members nationwide. The National Arbor Day Foundation, based in Nebraska City, Neb., is a nonprofit, environmental education organization of nearly 1 million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.
"UnitedHealthcare's support of tree-planting and paperless programs are making a wonderful, positive impact on the environment in many ways - by saving trees, reducing paper waste in landfills, and by planting thousands of trees in America's national forests," said John Rosenow, president of The National Arbor Day Foundation. "The company's efforts will help replant damaged areas and restore the treasured Pike-San Isabel National Forest to its previous grandeur."
According to Rosenow, 2006 was the nation's worst forest fire season on record, burning more than 9.6 million acres of land and creating a need for planting millions of trees in forests nationwide.
UnitedHealthcare has invested billions of dollars in technology to offer more online customer and physician services that reduce paper waste, potentially saving thousands of trees and protecting the environment. Last month, the company announced a real-time claims adjudication program via www.UnitedHealthcareOnline.com that enables physicians to submit their claims online and avoid excess, time-consuming paperwork.
"Part of our overarching commitment to heal health care, together, is to simplify access to information for our customers by providing real-time, online information that curtails paper waste and reduces our impact on the environment," said Elizabeth Soberg, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Colorado. "We are encouraged that many of our employer customers are working with us to become less dependent on paper and are supportive of our commitment to reduce waste and help restore America's forests. By opting for paperless communications, together we can significantly reduce even more paper use and save more trees while helping plant new trees in national forests.
UnitedHealthcare's online services and its support of The National Arbor Day Foundation dovetail with the company's commitment to help the environment. For example, UnitedHealthcare recently lowered its members co-payment for chlorofluorocarbon-free asthma inhalers. Chlorofluorocarbon-containing albuterol inhalers, once the industry standard for 25 years, are being phased out because of their harmful effect on the earth's ozone layer. The new CFC-free brand-name inhalers are just as effective but have a higher cost.
In addition, UnitedHealthcare's parent company, UnitedHealth Group, will begin construction on a new environmentally responsible 10-story building adjacent to its Minnetonka, Minn., headquarters. Planned for completion in 2008, the building is slated to be among the first LEED-certified buildings in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. LEED, or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, is the most respected and widely used environmental standard for commercial buildings and a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of environmentally responsible architecture.