Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies have been working to support individuals and communities for more than a year in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. This includes key actions from eliminating costs and making it easier to access prescription drugs to ensuring health care systems and physicians’ practices had the financial and medical resources needed to treat patients early on. BCBS companies also are identifying and educating vulnerable populations; collaborating with local, regional and national partners to reach millions of Americans in need; ensuring access to vaccines; and volunteering staff time and resources to efforts to combat COVID-19.
BCBS companies joined with America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) as part of the Vaccine Community Connector program to use data and analytic capabilities, combined with additional information on social factors that can create barriers to accessing vaccines, to identify those 65 and older in vulnerable and underserved communities who are most at risk.
Since the start of the pandemic, BCBS companies have committed more than $7 billion, over 130,000 Lyft rides, and partnered with Feeding America to reach more than 40 million Americans through their network of 200 food banks.
Here are some additional examples of how BCBS companies have been working within their communities during the pandemic:
- The BCBS Federal Employee Program® (FEP) announced a COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive Program to encourage members to get vaccinated. FEP is the first carrier in Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to offer an incentive like this to members in support of the Biden Administration’s goal of 70 percent of the adult population receiving at least one vaccine by July 4. As part of the incentive program, eligible members will receive $50, after they provide verification of vaccination, to use on the purchase of qualified medical expenses.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico worked with the state’s Native American population in a culturally competent way by providing masks, delivering wood for fire-burning stoves and cleaning supplies, and securing hotel rooms for those who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- The Independence Blue Cross Foundation and Highmark Blue Shield partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Latino Connection to bring COVID-19 testing and bilingual education directly to some of the state’s most vulnerable populations. Utilizing a mobile testing unit known as CATE—Community-Accessible Test and Education—the program has made nearly 30 stops in 15 counties, both rural and urban, conducting hundreds of COVID-19 tests and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to residents at no-cost.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma joined the Oklahoma Caring Foundation and the state Department of Health to support the Oklahoma Caring Vans Program. Vans were deployed to underserved communities throughout Oklahoma City and Tulsa—two of the state’s hot spots—to help increase access to COVID-19 testing.
- CareFirst Blue Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana collaborated with health care systems, public agencies and government leaders through public-private partnerships to collect and analyze data to better understand this virus and appropriately distribute medical supplies and resources as well as treat patients.
- An innovative collaboration between BlueCross and BlueShield of Tennessee and Meharry Medical College is using anonymized medical claims as well as data on social vulnerabilities and on previous vaccine hesitancy to identify individuals and communities most at risk for vaccine reluctance. Using data-based mapping, they are developing precise interventions for specific communities to support widespread vaccination.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is supporting the national effort to vaccinate Americans—with employees volunteering on the frontlines to help staff and organize and manage some of the state’s mass vaccination clinics.
- Millions of Americans suffer from food insecurity and, for many, COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem. Numerous BCBS companies across the country are partnering with health centers, community groups, food pantries and others to help bring healthy foods to those without access.
Learn more about the BCBSA COVID-19 efforts.