YMCAs Partner with Medicaid Insurers to Improve Health Outcomes

women in a YMCA exercise class

As of March 2023, 2,953,505 North Carolinians are enrolled in Medicaid, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The majority are single mothers and their children under the age of 20, seniors and disabled and blind people.

What’s more, more than 36% of adults in North Carolina have prediabetes, more than 43 percent have high blood pressure, and more than 33% of kids aged 10 to 17 are overweight or obese.

Each of the people behind these statistics is facing the challenge of learning how to make the changes needed to improve their health, as well as the financial challenge of how to access support to be successful in these changes. As a committed community health partner, the Y is here to help:

YMCA Evidence-based Health Programs

Beyond its fitness facilities, the Y provides evidence-based programs that promote wellness, reduce risk for disease and help people reclaim their health.

Through the Y’s collaboration, Medicaid members in all 100 counties of North Carolina have access (at no extra cost to them) to the Y’s evidence-based health interventions, including the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program, Healthy Weight and Your Child and the Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program.

The Y offers these programs remotely for Medicaid members who have a physician’s referral and who meet the eligibility specifications. Access to the Y’s programs and trained staff helps program participants make the lifestyle changes needed to improve their health and well-being and reduce medical expenses.

The Y programs are included in the value-added services that these NC Medicaid insurers offer to support their members:

Carolina Complete Health

  • Diabetes Prevention Program
  • Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan

  • Healthy Weight and Your Child

WellCare of North Carolina

  • Diabetes Prevention Program
  • Healthy Weight and Your Child

Youth Opportunities

Some Medicaid insurers also offer youth vouchers as part of their value-added services. Through Healthy Blue, Carolina Complete Health, and UnitedHealthcare, children and teens can access the Y's afterschool programs, leadership clubs and sports, as well as YMCA youth membership (at Ys that offer youth memberships.)  

Members of these Medicaid insurance plans are eligible for the vouchers once a year and have access to the Y’s financial assistance if programs cost more than the value of the voucher. In 2022, North Carolina Ys provided more than $23 million in financial aid so that everyone can access the resources, relationships, and opportunities necessary to learn, grow and thrive.