CVS Health invested more than $114 million in affordable housing last year to address social determinants of health as insurers intensify strategies to reduce costs and improve outcomes beyond covering traditional medical treatments.
In an announcement Tuesday, CVS said the company’s investments over the past year “will lead to the construction and rehabilitation of more than 2,800 affordable housing units in 30 cities, across 12 states.”
The housing initiative, which dates prior to CVS’ purchase of the Aetna health plan unit, comes as rival health insurers that include Anthem, Centene, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group are increasingly investing in an array of services and capital projects to address social determinants from food insecurity and loneliness to homelessness.
Many of these health plans are also paying for an array of services from food and nutrition to housing to make sure patients are getting the right care in the right place and at the right time. And by paying for these new benefits, insurers see cost savings if more expensive hospital care or other adverse health outcomes are avoided down the road.
“We recognize that equitable access to stable and supportive housing serves as one of the greatest barriers to better health for many people,” CVS president and chief executive Karen Lynch said. “Through our investments and collaboration with local partners, we’ve been able to provide underserved communities across the country with quality housing, economic support, and educational training opportunities based on the unique needs of the population.”
CVS, which bought Aetna in 2018, last year said the two companies have invested more than $1 billion in affordable housing and related investments since 1997 that have resulted in “the building and renovation of over 93,000 affordable rental units.”