June 24, 2024

Serene Nest

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CVS Health Ramps Up Affordable Housing Push

2 min read

CVS Health, one of the nation’s largest providers of medical care at its drugstores and clinics, is ramping up investments in housing as the company intensifies strategies to address social determinants of health.

CVS, which also owns the nation’s third-largest health insurance company in Aetna, sees investments in housing as a way to reduce costs and improve outcomes beyond covering traditional medical treatments. And CVS and rival insurers see paying for housing as a way to improve health outcomes and lower costs when someone can avoid an emergency room visit or hospitalization when they have a home.

The latest such investment was announced last week in Hawaii where areas on Maui were ravaged last year by fires and CVS said it will now be spending “nearly $35 million in equity investments towards the creation of two new affordable housing developments in Hawaii.”

“Located in Lahaina, Maui and Kapolei, Oahu, the communities will also offer residents supportive social and educational programs tailored to address their specific needs,” CVS said of a $17.5 million investment to build 200 new affordable housing units that will be built in collaboration with Urban Housing Communities, Ikaika Ohana, and Hunt Capital Partners. “In addition to other multiple funding partners, these investments support the state of Hawaii’s priorities in early childcare and affordable housing and exemplify the power of public and private collaborations.”

The housing initiative — which brings to $35 million CVS’ total investment in Hawaii and to more than $200 million the company has spent over the last five years — comes as rival health plans 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.

Centene, for example, last fall announced a $2.55 million commitment from the Centene Foundation and Iowa Total Care as part of a partnership with Central Iowa Shelter & Services to create an “on-the-ground Housing Command Center and a mobile application designed to address certain challenges people and communities face as a result of the social determinants of health.”

CVS said its investments in the past five years have “helped to create or preserve and renovate more than 20,000 affordable rental units, including 12,600 for families, 5,400 for seniors, nearly 2,000 permanent supportive housing units for veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals in need of support, those experiencing homelessness, single-parent households, victims of domestic violence, youth aging out of foster care, those with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities, those in need of mental health or substance abuse support, 2nd Chance participants, victims of human trafficking, and other groups that may be facing challenges in their lives,” CVS said in a statement

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